February 03, 2019
Eagles' defensive end Chris Long was given the 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award on Saturday for outstanding community service off the field.
Long, who joined the team in 2017, is known for his humanitarian efforts, both internationally and locally.
During Long's first season with the team he donated his entire salary — worth about $1 million — to support education in cities where he has played, including Philadelphia, St. Louis and Boston. And in 2018 he donated a quarter of his salary to "First Quarter for Literacy" to donate books and mentoring services to families in Philadelphia. Long also promised to match any other player that would donate.
And after winning the Super Bowl last season, Long climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for sustainable water wells in East Africa with some fellow players.
According to the NFL, Long has donated more than $2.25 million in donations to educational equity programs over the last two years.
“I am humbled by the support we have received from my peers who have donated to our various matching-campaigns, the commitment and perseverance displayed by the veterans who have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with me each year, and the generosity of our fans who have made vital contributions to our foundation over the years," Long said on Saturday. "I am incredibly thankful that football has provided me with a platform to give back and I am proud that so many of my colleagues have decided to use this stage to create positive and impactful change in our local communities and around the world.”
As part of the honor, the Chris Long Foundation will receive a $250,000 donation from the NFL and an additional $250,000 will be donated to United Way in Long's name.