Washington defensive lineman Jonathan Allen was nominated for this year’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award for helping homeless children find safe homes and his other charity work.
Allen, 25, has worked to combat youth homelessness — a cause that’s close to him, given that he was homeless for a brief stretch when he was 7. Last year, he partnered with Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a District-based non-profit aimed at helping those displaced.
Every year, each team nominates one player for the NFL’s award and then the public votes to determine the winner. Last year, Washington long snapper Nick Sundberg finished second behind Cam Newton in voting. The winner of the award receives $250,000 to donate to a charity of their choice.
In addition to his work with Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Allen has participated in a number of events with the Washington Football Charitable Foundation, such as guiding kids through football drills.
“I am incredibly honored to receive this nomination and am empowered by this opportunity to expand even further how my wife and I give back to the community I love,” Allen said in a statement. “I am proud to continue to support the work of the Washington Football Charitable Foundation as well as Sasha Bruce Youthwork and the amazing work they are doing for our youth. The relationships and impact the youth have made on myself and my wife pales in comparison to the impact we have made on their lives.
“As someone who has been through the foster system myself, I am very passionate about making an impact on their lives and being a resource for them moving forward. I hope to continue to be a positive example that these kids can follow and see that it’s not impossible to come out of any situation and be successful.”
This is Allen’s fourth season with Washington. The former first-rounder out of Alabama was drafted in 2017.
By being nominated, Allen receives $40,000 to donate to a charity of his choosing.