The Los Angeles Chargers announced yesterday that Derwin James was nominated, for the 2nd year in row, as the team’s representative for the 2023 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Considered by many around the league, including this writer, as one of the most prestigious awards a player can receive, the Walter Payton Man of the Year is awarded to an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field.
“I’m incredibly blessed and honored to be named a Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee for the second year,” said James. “I know how special of an honor this is and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to service my community and want to continue to take every opportunity to support my community in any way possible. A highlight of my career is being able help to those who need it and bring joy to the people around me. I want to leave this community better than how I found it and will continue to strive for that even long after my career ends. Being a role model for not just for my son, but to also encourage people and other players to help in their community is a legacy I hope to leave. To be recognized for this phenomenal award means a lot to me. I’m thankful to have the full support of the Chargers, the fans, my teammates and coaches throughout my NFL career.”Los Angeles Chargers Safety Derwin James
Los Angeles Chargers Derwin James Is Your 2023 Walter Payton Man Of The Year Nominee
Since being drafted by the Chargers 17th overall, James has been a constant mainstay in the community, helping and leading multiple programs and organizations.
This year James joined the Chargers Impact Fund for the launch of the Bolts Book Club summer reading program at the Watts-Willowbrook clubhouse. The club recently set up a fundraising campaign to purchase school supplies for all of its members, but unfortunately fell short of their goal. James stepped in and personally funded what was remaining.
James also hosts countless youth sports programs and flag football camps. In his hometown of Haines City, Florida, James hosted a free youth football camp for 400 athletes and provided them with $25,000+ worth of apparel and gear. He also supported 250 children from the greater Haines City community with backpacks at the start of the 2023 school year.
This past November, James continued giving back to underserved youth in both Haines City and Santa Ana, California by hosting Thanksgiving events in each city – personally attending the Santa Ana event where he helped serve a complete Thanksgiving dinner to more than 150 local families while helping prepare over 200 packaged meals earmarked for delivery to underserved families.
In partnership with the Hoag Family Cancer Institute, this past October James hosted 40 breast cancer patients and survivors at the team training facility during NFL “Crucial Catch” cancer awareness month. With the purpose of uplifting, James joined all the participants in a mindfulness session and meditation experience on the Chargers practice field.
These are just a handful of the charitable work that Derwin James is a part of. More than just his Pro Bowl talent on the field, the Chargers and the City of Los Angeles are lucky to have the human that is Derwin James. Many of these acts go unnoticed, but back-to-back nominations for the Walter Payton Man of the Year can shine some light on the great work that he is doing off the field.