Eagles defensive end Chris Long has been named the 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year after 12 months of simply amazing work within the community.
The Walter Payton Man of the Year award is widely regarded as one of the NFL’s most coveted honors and is given to the player who displays the most remarkable work of any for their work outside of Football to make the world a better place.
As a result, The Chris Long Foundation will receive a $250,000 donation and an additional $250,000 will be donated to United Way in Long’s name.
“I am honored to be named the 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and to join the long line of men who have received this prestigious honor,” said Long via an Eagles press release . “While I am officially accepting this award, we would not be able to accomplish our goals without the support and participation of countless other individuals. I am humbled by the support we have received from my peers who have donated to our various matching-campaigns, the commitment and perseverance displayed by the veterans who have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with me each year, and the generosity of our fans who have made vital contributions to our foundation over the years. I am incredibly thankful that football has provided me with a platform to give back and I am proud that so many of my colleagues have decided to use this stage to create positive and impactful change in our local communities and around the world.”
The Super Bowl winning defensive end has been an integral part to the Eagles defense since he joined the team in 2017. Whether it was his emphatic efforts rushing the passer and leading a young positional group, it didn’t take Long to fit right into the City of Brotherly Love.
“Chris Long is one of the finest individuals that I have encountered during my 25 years in the National Football League,” said Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie in that same press release. “Chris’ on-field contributions and his presence in the locker room were instrumental in our success over the last two seasons and I will always be grateful for the role he played in bringing the city of Philadelphia its first Super Bowl championship. Chris has also displayed remarkable stewardship off the field, both locally and globally. He is a model citizen and leader, and he is someone that we can all look up to and learn a great deal from. I admire the work that he has done throughout his career to help source clean water in East Africa, create educational equity programs and provide support to military veterans. Civic responsibility is one of our organization’s core values, and in my eyes, Chris has lived up to and exceeded the high standards of what it means to be a Philadelphia Eagle. There is no one more deserving of this award.”
Memorably, Long donated his first six game checks to help fund scholarships in his hometown. He then announced that the following ten would be donated to help promote educational equity in the cities in which he has played: St. Louis, Boston and Philadelphia. Long then encouraged fans to donate with him following this remarkable act of kindness and generated another $1.75 million. In total, Long’s efforts over the last two seasons have generated $2.25 million in donations to educational equity programs.
In 2018, Long created the “First Quarter for Literacy” program, which provides families in Phialdelphia and nationwide with free books, literacy resources and mentoring services. He donated roughly a quarter of his 2018 salary to the program.
Alongside this, he also launched ‘Waterboys’, which was designed to unite fans and players in a mission to provide clean drinking water to East African communities in need. The aim was to build 32 clean water wells, one representing each team and a goal that was passed in February 2018.
To date, Waterboys has raised more than $3 million and has funded 55 wells that will provide water to 211,000 people.
You can learn more about Chris Long, his charities and find out how to donate, here: