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Larry Fitzgerald named co-winner of Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year

Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, poses in the press room at the 6th annual NFL Honors at the Wortham Center on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, in Houston. (Photo by Jeff Lewis/Invision for NFL/AP Images)

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was named the co-winner of the 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award Saturday at the NFL Honors event in Houston.

Fitzgerald was the winner of the award with fellow finalist Eli Manning of the New York Giants. Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen was the other finalist.

“Our communities are better because of what Larry Fitzgerald, Eli Manning, Greg Olsen and the thousands of other outstanding NFL players bring to them,” said Cardinals President Michael Bidwill in a press release. “They are all truly worthy of our recognition and appreciation. But at the Cardinals, we all know how special Larry is and why he is particularly deserving of this prestigious honor. What he has accomplished as a receiver in his 13 years in the NFL will be nearly impossible to match. Even more so is the level of class and integrity he has consistently brought to our league and our organization.”

It is the third time there have been co-winners of the award.

Fitzgerald joins former quarterback Kurt Warner, who won in 2008, as the second Cardinal to receive this honor.

The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is widely regarded as the premier award recognizing off-the-field excellence, including charity and community outreach.

Each of the 32 NFL teams chooses a player to represent their organization and three finalists are chosen from that field.

Fitzgerald’s two foundations — the Larry Fitzgerald First Down Fund and the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund have helped thousands to create activities for kids across the country to participate in. Fitzgerald himself has donated over hundreds of thousands of dollars to schools in Minneapolis and Phoenix for various reasons, whether it was to help fund books or to provide the latest technology for the kids.

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