LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles Chargers announced today defensive tackle Corey Liuget as its nominee for the WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE. Considered one of the league's most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. Each of the league's 32 nominees were announced today.
Over the course of his eight seasons in the NFL (all with the Chargers), Liuget's commitment to his on-field performance is equaled only by his commitment to philanthropy and making a difference in the community. A constant presence at community events aimed at making a positive impact in children's lives – from participating in Play60 youth football camps, visiting kids in hospitals, speaking to high school students and kids in juvenile halls, taking kids shopping for holiday gifts at his annual Shop with a Charger event to working alongside law enforcement to raise funds for inner city youth sports programs – Corey has undeniably impacted the lives of countless children.
Liuget's desire to give back and inspire youth quite literally spans from coast-to-coast. Earlier this year, the South Florida native donated $10,000 to the Stoneman Douglas High School football team and created the Coach Aaron Feis Scholarship Fund. The Fund is named in honor of former assistant coach Aaron Feis, one of the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting. The scholarship will be awarded to a graduating member of the football team who exhibits characteristics that represent who Feis was and the traits he valued. Additionally, Liuget made several visits to a number of different children's hospitals in his home state to bring smiles to the faces of their brave patients while also visiting teen correctional facilities to speak about the power of making good life choices
While Liuget is involved in a wide range of community outreach off the field, it is his work with the American Heart Association (AHA) that might be the most personal. In 2012, two weeks after welcoming the birth of his first son, Corey Jr., Liuget and his wife Faven learned that their son was born with heart defects known as Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) and a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) – essentially holes on the bottom of his heart and an opening on the top of his heart. After successful surgery, Corey Jr. has grown to be a happy and healthy 6-year-old. Liuget, however, has not forgotten the experience and continues to make heart health and wellness a cornerstone of his community outreach as an ambassador for the Community S.T.E.P.S program with the Los Angeles AHA. A hybrid social justice and physical activity campaign, the S.T.E.P.S program is aimed at bringing law enforcement and the community together to create a safe space for dialogue and exercise. Through the Chargers Community Corner program, Liuget also personally donates tickets for all homes games to families with children who have heart defects.
Additionally, Liuget previously executed a performance campaign, pledging to donate a CPR and Heart Health testing kit to a local high school for each sack or Chargers win recorded throughout the season.
"I was blown away to be the team's nominee to be completely honest," Liuget said. "I wasn't expecting the nomination for it, so when it happened, it was definitely a joyful moment because (of) all the work I put in this offseason. It felt very good. For me, the nomination means that I'm a guy who's dedicated to always giving back and making sure that if I can influence to change anyone's life or help them get that little sense of hope to change their life, I'm that guy for them."
"It was awesome being able to surprise Corey with the exciting news of his nomination, especially when you consider the fact that he was just coming off surgery for a season-ending injury," John Spanos, Chargers President of Football Operations said. "This is Corey's eighth season with the team now, and over that time he's been one of our most philanthropically active players. Even when dealing with adversity earlier this year, he remained committed to making a positive impact on the community. We're fortunate to have so many quality Walter Payton Man of the Year candidates on this team, but Corey truly distinguished himself and earned this honor. We could not be more proud of him."
New this year, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as finalists and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIII. The 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 2, the eve of Super Bowl LIII, on CBS. NFL Honors will be at Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
Five hundred thousand dollars will be donated in the name of the 2018 winner. $250,000 will be donated in his name to expand Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way's digital character education program. An additional donation of $250,000 will be donated to the charity of his choice. All other 31 nominees will receive a donation of $50,000 in their name to expand Character Playbook, and an additional donation of up to $50,000 to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.
Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide's 4th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote by using #WPMOYChallenge on Twitter with their favorite nominee's last name somewhere in the post between December 6 and January 13. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, courtesy of Nationwide. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at nfl.com/manoftheyear.
More information about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award can be found at http://www.nfl.com/manoftheyear.