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Calais Campbell named Walter Payton Man of the Year

Five-time Pro Bowler honored for work on and off the field
Credit: AP
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell (93) celebrates with fans after the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

"The Mayor of Sacksonville" has added another title.

Jaguars captain and defensive end Calais Campbell was named the 2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year at the NFL Honors ceremony ahead of Super Bowl 54. The reigning Bart Starr Award recipient was previously nominated in 2011 and 2014 while with the Arizona Cardinals.

Campbell signed with Jacksonville prior to the 2017. During that time, the only thing more impactful than his 31.5 sacks has been his commitment to serving the Northeast Florida community. From hosting holiday events to his on-going, youth mentorship program at Northwestern Middle School as part of CRC Book Club, Campbell has sought to assist youth across the First Coast. 

Campbell also conducted a "Campbell's Season of Giving" in 2019, donating $1,000 for every Jaguars win, $5,000 for each sack he recorded, $2,500 for every half-sack, and $2,000 for every tackle for loss. The final numbers for that campaign totaled more than $80,000. Those funds have been divided and donated to four different, local organizations -- representing the four months of the NFL regular season: Feeding Northeast Florida (September), the Clara White Mission (October), the Wounded Warrior Project (November), and The United Way of Northeast Florida (December). 

Additionally, prior to returning to his hometown of Denver for the Jaguars Week Four match-up with the Broncos, Campbell donated an additional $5,000 each to several Denver-based charities: the Beckworth Outdoor Education, Denver Police Athletic League. Hiawatha Davis Rec Center (where he spent time as a kid), and the Rose Andom Center.

Those Denver-based donations brought Campbell's entire, Season of Giving total to $100,000. 

Campbell also lent a hand to the Jaguars Foundation, hosting 250 kids for a youth football and STEM class, visiting local military installations during Salute to Service week, and making appearances at local schools. 

"Calais means so much more to the NFL than being a great player on the field each and every Sunday," head coach Doug Marrone said in December after Campbell was named Jacksonville's nominee. "He embodies all the traits that make someone a consummate professional, and his passion and love for the game and everything it represents is why he's a perfect candidate for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. As a tenured veteran, Calais has made an impact everywhere he's been during his football career, both inside the organizations he's played for with his teammates, coaches and the staff, as well as in the community with his neighbors. With every second of free time, it seems like he's always out in the city looking for a way to give back and make a difference. I'm honored to have had the privilege to coach a player and a man like Calais Campbell."