December 28, 2015
The 2015 Philadelphia Eagles season is a wash. But for one player, an accomplishment that goes beyond the field is still in reach.
Linebacker Connor Barwin was among the 32 players nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award earlier in December. The honor recognizes players for their community service and excellence off the field.
While outgoing Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter may never lead a local campaign again, he's putting his political skills to work on Twitter in an effort to make a case for Barwin. On Monday, he posted the following on his account:
Several joined Nutter in the push to get Barwin the award, which is determined by how many times each player's specific hashtag is used. In Barwin's case, it's #BarwinWPMOYChallenge.
Barwin's involvement in the community since joining the Eagles in 2013 has been well-documented. Here's a sampling of his work, via the NFL:
Off the field, Connor has an even greater impact. In 2013, he founded the Make the World Better Foundation (MWBF), which builds and rehabilitates parks to provide safe and fun spaces for outdoor athletic and artistic play - an essential component of child development. As a nod to the importance of family, MWBF are also his parents' initials. In 2014 and 2015, the foundation raised $700,000 for the renovation of Ralph Brooks Park, which opened after training camp this season and was featured in NFL Films Presents: The Street Eagle. Make the World Better is now focusing on the Smith Playground in South Philadelphia, which will include a renovated recreational center, a new football field and two new baseball fields. He is also actively involved in Eagles Youth Partnership, a charity that serves over 50,000 low-income children in the Greater Philadelphia region every year with a focus on vital health and education programming.
On Monday, he thanked Nutter for his support after being on-hand to break ground with city officials on the aforementioned improvements to Smith Playground:
If he wins the award, he'll use the $20,000 in funding that comes with it for a scoreboard at the new Smith Playground, according to WHYY's Tom MacDonald:
Voting for the award is open through Dec. 31.