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Alfred Morris Selected as Redskins' Walter Payton Man of the Year

redskins.com | 1/17/2014, 8:34 a.m.
Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris (Courtesy of redskins.com)

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — The Washington Redskins have selected running back Alfred Morris as the team’s 2013 Walter Payton Man of the Year. The Man of the Year honor is given annually by the league to recognize a player’s community service and volunteer efforts as well as his excellence on the field.

As the Redskins’ winner of the award, Morris will receive a $1,000 donation for his designated charity, Change Starts Now. The charity, based in his hometown of Pensacola, Fla., serves the community by engaging individuals and groups in charitable, educational and religious activities that increase awareness and promote behavioral changes that have positive lifestyle impacts.

“Anytime I get an opportunity to give back, I give back,” Morris said. “My heart for giving was shaped by others who gave to my family. I saw how selfless they were. It is not always about receiving, but giving, so every time they [the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation] have some type of event to give, I am always there.”

The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation (WRCF) held at least one community event each week throughout the 2013 season, all of which were supported by core group of four players who made the effort and commitment to attend regularly, including Morris, wide receiver Joshua Morgan, cornerback Josh Wilson and fullback Darrel Young.

Morgan, the team’s 2012 Walter Payton Man of the Year, serves as the local spokesman for organizations including United Way of the National Capital Area and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. In addition to WRCF events, Morgan spends time volunteering with area schools to advocate the importance of higher education.

Wilson, a graduate of DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Md. and the University of Maryland, and his wife Jazmin created the “Wilson Reading Challenge” in partnership with WRCF, which awarded the classroom who read the most books at each of their own local elementary schools with a private tour of FedExField at the end of the semester.

Young focused on supporting military personnel as well as WRCF this season, visiting troops stationed overseas in Japan and participating in the Salute to Play 60: Military Challenge at a local air force base, among other events. Young’s commitment to giving back and helping others is exemplified through his mentorship attitude in providing sound advice and guidance to those who look up to him. In addition to his trip to Japan, Young has also visited troops overseas in Honduras and El Salvador in 2012.

Listed on the following page is a sampling of the community events Morris attended during the 2013 season on behalf of the WRCF. From Play 60 activities to holiday giving, Morris did not turn down an opportunity to support those in need throughout all of 2013.

“Alfred Morris truly cares about the community and enjoys giving back,” Executive Director of the WRCF Jane Rodgers said. “He has a special place in his heart for kids, specifically those that may be faced with challenging circumstances. The Charitable Foundation Team is very proud of how generous our Redskins players are with their time and Alfred is the leader of the pack.”

On the field, Morris continued to be one of the most productive members of the Redskins’ offense in 2013, finishing the season with 1,275 yards, the 11th most in a season in team history, on 276 carries (4.6 avg.). Morris has now rushed for a total of 2,888 yards from 2012-13, the ninth-most rushing yardage of any running back in his first two NFL seasons.

The prestigious award was renamed in 1999 for legendary Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton. The award has been given annually since 1970.

Past Redskins winners of the Walter Payton Man of the Year include: Joshua Morgan, 2012; Lorenzo Alexander, 2010-11; London Fletcher, 2008-2009 (selected as NFL finalist in 2009); Rocky McIntosh, 2007; Renaldo Wynn, 2006; Shawn Springs, 2005; Chris Cooley, 2004; Darnerian McCants, 2003; Eddie Mason, 2002; Chris Samuels, 2001; Darrell Green, 1996 (won the national award); and Joe Theismann, 1982 (won the national award).