clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kelvin Beachum is the Arizona Cardinals 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year

NFL: Houston Texans at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It is awards season and one of the most prestigious awards is the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.

The Arizona Cardinals announced their winner and the nominee for the NFL Man of the Year.

From the team:

The Arizona Cardinals Football Club today announced that offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum has been named the “Arizona Cardinals/Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.”

Beachum was previously selected as the “New York Jets/Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year” in 2018.

The award is in recognition of outstanding community service activities off the field as well as excellence on the field. As a nominee, Beachum will receive a donation of up to $40,000 in his name to a charity his choice.

“Kelvin is such an incredible representative of our team and our league and truly exemplifies what this award stands for,” said Cardinals owner Michel Bidwill. “He provides veteran leadership and consistently strong play as the starting right tackle on the NFL’s most exciting offense. But throughout his 10-year career he’s been even more committed to making a difference away from the field. Whether it’s increasing educational opportunities, eliminating food insecurity, or addressing issues of social injustice, Kelvin is a passionate and dedicated advocate and our communities are better for his efforts.”

Beachum is one of 32 NFL “Man of the Year” recipients to qualify for the league’s national 2021 “Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year” award. For the fourth consecutive year, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as finalists and recognized for their important work during the week leading up to Super Bowl LVI. The 2021 “Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year” will be announced during NFL Honors, an awards special to air the Thursday before Super Bowl LVI on ABC. The winner will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice.

All “Man of the Year” nominees will wear a helmet decal beginning this weekend through the end of the season to recognize their accomplishments on and off the field. Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt and the two other current NFL players (Calais Campbell and Russell Wilson) who have previously been named the national “Man of the Year” will continue wear a jersey patch to recognize their outstanding contributions to the game and community.

In his second season with the Cardinals, Beachum has already become a mainstay in the Arizona community, embracing the opportunity to make a positive impact just as he had done during his previous stops throughout his 10-year NFL career in New York, Jacksonville and Pittsburgh. An NFL Community MVP winner each year between 2016-19 and the 2018 United Way Hometown Hero, Beachum currently serves as a task force member for the Players Coalition.

Ending hunger and providing access to clean water has long been an important cause to Beachum, who donated $10,000 to the United Way of Newark to provide 100,000 water bottles to residents in need following the Newark Water Crisis in 2019. A monthly volunteer at the United Food Bank, Beachum recently hosted a holiday food distribution with teammate Dennis Gardeck that served 200 Arizona families prior to Thanksgiving. Working with the Central Texas Food Bank, Beachum created a monthly mobile food pantry to feed families in his hometown of Mexia, and in 2017, he was named Ambassador at Large for the Central Texas Food Bank, helping raise $100,000 and matching that contribution. Beachum has contributed his time and financial resources to the Houston Food Bank, Pittsburgh Food Bank, Feeding Northeast Florida Food Bank and the Food Bank of New York City (Harlem).

Beachum celebrated World Food Day 2018 with a fan match initiative that raised $75,000 for several food banks, which helped serve more than 327,000 meals. In 2015, he also partnered with the Bread for the World organization with the goal of ending hunger in the U.S. and around the world by lobbying Congress to improve summer food programs for school children and pass the Global Food Security Act in 2016. Last year, the Beachum family hosted a food and Christmas tree donation for 100 families at Sirrine Elementary School in Chandler, AZ through a partnership with Lowe’s and the United Food Bank.

Closing the “digital divide” is another cause of particular significance to Beachum and was the topic of an NFL.com op-ed that he penned last December in which he expressed concern for children of color and students for underserved communities lacking access to internet and technology. This winter, he will donate laptops and tablets to Arizona schools to address those concerns and help bridge that divide. Last October, he announced the NFL’s Player Coalition’s donation of $50,000 to help install new internet access points for 25 school campuses in the Ector County Independent School District in West Texas, and in 2020, he made a $15,000 donation through Donors Choose to fund 34 projects across Arizona school districts to support STEAM education resources, diverse books for classroom libraries and clean water access.

In 2016, Beachum created “Kelvin Konnects,” a STEAM initiative and program designed to increase minority access to careers within the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics disciplines. As part of that program, “Kelvin Konnects” works with students of the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy in Dallas and pairs them with industry leaders, local and federal elected officials and offers the opportunity for the students to immerse themselves in the world of STEAM. Each year, he also provides a backpack full of school supplies for each of the 500 children who participant in his annual football camp in Mexia.

In his capacity as a professional speaker, Beachum has delivered keynote addresses at the IT Senior Management Forum Conference, Walsh Hunger Summit at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton and Texas Project Lead the Way Summit. He has also contributed to numerous speaker series and panels on a wide range of topics, and he currently sits on two executive boards at his alma mater, Southern Methodist, where he champions diversity within admissions, pioneers inclusion efforts on campus and supports programming, recruitment and mentorship efforts for students and alumni.

Congratulations to Kelvin.