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RB David Johnson named Arizona Cardinals Man of the Year

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) celebrates his touchdown catch against the Pittsburgh Steelers with fans during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Due to his community service efforts, plus his impact on the field, Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson was on Thursday named as his team’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year for 2019.

Each NFL chose a recipient for the award, and the group of 32 finalists now qualifies for the league-wide honor.

As one of those players, Johnson has already earned a $50,000 donation to the charity of his choice and two Super Bowl LIV tickets for his pick of recipients. If he wins the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, he will receive a donation of $250,000 to his favorite charity.

Johnson and his wife, Meghan, started Johnson Family’s Mission 31 Foundation in 2017 to help seriously ill children and their families. With that, they have worked with local hospitals and schools through the “David’s Locker” outreach program, which provides education and entertainment to patients and their families via a mobile cart containing iPads, laptops and gaming consoles.

“As soon as I got in the league, that was our first goal, was to be there for kids,” Johnson said after practice Thursday.

The running back has also attempted to prevent bullying and in 2017 helped with a “Run Thru Bullying” campaign in four Phoenix-area school districts.

“Him and Meghan do an unbelievable job with their foundation,” said wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who won the Walter Payton award for the 2016 season. “To see him grow and mature, and the way he’s done his work in the community, is really great. We couldn’t be more proud of him representing our team and our community.”

As the Cardinal’s winner of the yearly honor, Johnson will wear a helmet decal for the rest of 2019 in recognition of his accomplishments.

Johnson said the fact he was selected despite losing his starter role has meaning.

“It speaks a lot to be able to be the representative for the Cardinals. Because it’s showing that it’s not just what I do on the field, it’s what I do in the community,” he said.

More of Johnson’s work can be found at his foundation’s website, www.davidjohnson31.org.

Below is the full list of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominees.

98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Tyler Drake contributed to this article.


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