Larry Fitzgerald becomes second Cardinal to win Man of the Year award
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was named co-winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award at the NFL Honors. Fitzgerald has spent time off the field participating in several philanthropic initiatives.
Fitzgerald shares the award with Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Fitzgerald recently teamed with Lenovo to donate tablet computers to schools in the Phoenix community and also worked with Riddell to bring new and improved helmets to kids playing football in Minneapolis.
Fitzgerald has created two foundations, the Larry Fitzgerald First Down Fund and the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund. The First Down Fund mainly helps kids in both Phoenix and his hometown of Minneapolis by donating money to fund books, field trips, supplies and technology to underprivileged youth.
"“Across the NFL, great men, like Eli Manning and Greg Olsen are serving their communities and making a difference,” Fitzgerald said Saturday night. “Previous winners like my former teammate Anquan Boldin and newly minted Hall of Fame Kurt Warner exemplify what it means to give back. And I consider it a tremendous honor to be mentioned in the same breath as these men.”"
Manning and Fitzgerald are the third pair of players to share the Man of the Year award. In 2000, Derrick Brooks and Jim Flanigan shared the award and in 2006 Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson shared the award. Fitzgerald joins Kurt Warner as the only Cardinals to win the award, which dates back to 1970.
Larry Fitzgerald and Eli Manning entered the National Football League together, as the first and third overall picks in the 2004 draft. It was the second time Fitzgerald had been a finalist. He was also in the last three in 2012, when Ravens center Matt Birk won the award.
Fitzgerald gets $1 million donated in his name, with $500,000 going to their charity of the player’s choice and $500,000 to the expansion of the league’s Character Playbook charity, across all NFL cities.