ATLANTA - Atlanta Falcons has named quarterback Matt Ryan the team's 2016 Walter Peyton NFL Man of the Year nominee. It's the league's most prestigious award recognizing a player for his excellence on and off the field.
The NFL announced their 32 nominees on their website Wednesday. The winner will be revealed during the NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special airing on February 4 on FOX.
According to a press release, Ryan, in his ninth season with the team, is receiving this honor for the first time.
“Matt has set the tone for our team in many ways; as a leader in the locker room, on the field and in our community. He helps us be the best team that we can be,” said Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn.
Drafted to the Falcons in 2008, Ryan has generated nearly $1 million for the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, the statement said. He also takes part in the NFL matching grant program for local Atlanta schools and is a partner with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Ryan said “This really means a lot; to be compared to someone like Walter Payton, because of what he stood for and what kind of person he was both on and off the field. And also to be grouped with the great list of players and men that have won in the past. I’m very proud of the impact we’ve made on the community here in Atlanta, I’m very proud of what I’ve done on the field and it is an honor to even be considered for this recognition.”
The winner of the 2016 Walter Peyton NFL Man of the Year award will have a donation made to the charity of their choice and an additional donation made in their name to implement the NFL and United Way's Character Playbook program.