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Brees, Tomlinson share Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Feb 2, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=paytonaward&amp;prov=st&amp;type=lgns" target="_blank">Associated Press</a>

    By Chris Palochko

    <img src="http://www.fantasyfootballfiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/02/PH2005090702209.jpg" title="LaDainian Tomlinson and former Charger Drew Brees" alt="LaDainian Tomlinson and former Charger Drew Brees" align="left" height="238" width="219" />MIAMI (Ticker) - Drew Brees finished as runner-up to LaDainian Tomlinson in MVP voting. Now the duo will share another prestigious award.

    The former San Diego Chargers teammates on Friday were named the co-winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

    Connie Payton, the wife of the late Walter Payton, presented Brees and Tomlinson with the award at a morning news conference.

    The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, named after the legendary running back of the Chicago Bears, is the only NFL award that recognizes off-the-field community service as well as playing excellence.

    Since the inception of the award in 1970, the only other time there were co-winners was in 2000 with Derrick Brooks and Jim Flanigan.

    Brees, who passed for a league-leading 4,418 yards and topped the NFC with 26 touchdown passes, led the New Orleans Saints to within a win of their first Super Bowl appearance.

    Brees signed with the Saints last spring after spending his first five years with the Chargers. His efforts to help rebuild the New Orleans region following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina have been widespread.

    Upon his arrival in the Crescent City, Brees partnered with Saints running back Deuce McAllister on a fundraiser to help rebuild the NFL Youth Education Town and Pan American Football Field.

    Brees also focused on improving youth and high school programs (matched by teammates and the NFL) and sponsored the "Drew Brees Gridiron Classic" which allowed youth teams to play on the field of the Superdome at halftime of a Saints game.

    "This is a tremendous honor for me to win this award and share it with a good friend and tremendous competitor in LT," Brees said. "The first and most important thing about the award is the namesake, Walter Payton. He represented everything that is good about our league, the kind of man he was, the integrity and professionalism both on and off the field."

    "This is an outstanding award for Drew and it speaks to what he helped produce," Saints owner Tom Benson said. "He joined us immediately and took the reins as a leader both on and off the field."

    Tomlinson, who set NFL single-season records with 31 touchdowns and points scored (186) while also leading the league with 1,815 rushing yards, led the Chargers to the league's best record (14-2) during the regular season.

    Since joining the Chargers in 2001, Tomlinson has committed to helping children in San Diego and in his hometown of Waco, Texas. L.T.'s 21 club provides Chargers game tickets to local children, who are then treated to a postgame dinner hosted by Tomlinson and receive a goodie bag filled with school supplies, books and games.

    "I am honored to receive this award because it's named after a man who had a tremendous impact on me growing up," Tomlinson said. "I idolized and wanted to be like Walter Payton when I was growing up. Walter Payton was more than a great running back. He was a great person."

    "LT personifies the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award," Chargers president Dean Spanos said. "He leads by example both as a player on the field and as a citizen in the community."

    Brees and Tomlinson joined an esteemed list of past winners that includes quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, John Elway and Troy Aikman and running backs Jerome Bettis and Warrick Dunn.

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