PHOENIX (AP) — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott won the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award on Thursday night.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection is the fourth Cowboys player to win the award, joining Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and former teammate Jason Witten.
The award — the recipient of which is picked from 32 nominees, one on each team — is given to an NFL player for his off-the-field community service activities, as well as on-the-field success.
The Haughton, Louisiana, native lost his mother, Peggy, in 2013 to cancer when he was a quarterback at Mississippi State. His brother, Jace, died of suicide in 2020.
The quarterback said there was no doubt where this award ranks among the many honors he’s received in his career.
“That’s easy — it’s number one,” Prescott said. “When your mom gets diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, she’s given months to live, she’s giving you that news, and she tells you, ‘Hey, all greats have a story. Allow me to be your story.’
“That’s what this award means to me.”
Prescott’s Faith Fight Finish foundation has raised funds for several causes, including colon cancer research. The quarterback has also been very open about suicide prevention and mental health. For winning the award, Prescott’s foundation receives $255,000. The other 31 finalists receive $55,000 for the charity of their choice.
“I’ve always been obsessed with the game of football since I was a little kid,” Prescott said. “When she used to introduced me, she’d say ‘This is my Heisman winner.’
“Obviously, I didn’t win that. But I think being able to trade that for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, my mom would have been so proud.”
The award is named after late running back and Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Payton. Los Angeles Rams offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth was last year’s winner.