ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos have selected linebacker Wesley Woodyard as their Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award recipient, it was announced Wednesday. This prestigious award historically recognizes a player for outstanding leadership both on the field and in the community.
Also on Wednesday, the club recognized five players as Denver Broncos Community Ambassadors: safety Mike Adams, safety David Bruton, guard Ben Garland, tight end Virgil Green and linebacker Steven Johnson.
A six-time captain for the Broncos, Woodyard is the club’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee for the third time in the last four years (2010-11, ’13).
Woodyard’s nonprofit, the 16Ways Foundation, has an enormous impact on at-risk youth and hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including an MVP Dinner, multiple youth football camps and Touchdowns for Tomorrow Trivia Night. 16Ways Foundation is also scheduled to host its annual toy drive in December to benefit local charities, including the Tennyson Center for abused and neglected children.
In April, Woodyard joined Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol Building to kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month and helped unveil the My Denver Card initiative, which allows all Denver Public School students who apply to the program admission into Denver’s 26 recreations centers and 29 pools free of charge.
He also has spoken on behalf of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in support of Be the One Colorado—part of a coalition of state agencies and non-profit organizations that support the healthy development of all of Colorado’s children.
In addition to his own charitable efforts, Woodyard is a regular participant in team community events. He has volunteered his time for such initiatives as Hometown Huddle, Habitat for Humanity Metro Denver and the Denver Broncos Holiday Party for the Denver Rescue Mission.
The sixth-year linebacker, who was signed by the Broncos as a college free agent in 2008, currently ranks second on the club with 71 tackles (36 solo) to go along with 1.5 sacks (11 yds.), three passes defensed and one forced fumble. Serving as Denver’s starting middle linebacker for the first time this season, Woodyard is coming off a career year in 2012 which saw him become just the 12th player in the last three decades to record at least 100 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions.
Woodyard’s selection as the Broncos’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award recipient will be recognized during Denver’s home game against Tennessee on Dec. 8, and the Broncos will make a $10,000 donation to the 16Ways Foundation. Woodyard’s name will be submitted to the NFL for consideration as the national award winner, which is announced during Super Bowl week. That individual will receive a $25,000 donation to the organization of his choice courtesy of NFL Charities.
Previous Broncos nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award include guard Zane Beadles (2012), Woodyard (2010-11), cornerback Champ Bailey (2008-09), cornerback Domonique Foxworth (2007), wide receiver Rod Smith (2004, ’06), safety John Lynch (2005), linebacker Ian Gold (2003) and wide receiver Ed McCaffrey (2002).
Quarterback John Elway (1992) is the only Broncos player to win the national award, which was first given in 1970 and renamed after the Chicago Bears’ Pro Football Hall of Fame running back in 1999.
Mission: 16Ways Foundation recognizes an emotional need for at-risk youth. At-risk youth require reassurance that they matter, in order for them to achieve their highest possible academic and social levels, with the intent to become productive, contributing members of society.
Purpose: 16Ways Foundation is a non-profit organization under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation will work on a national level to develop and implement workshops, seminars, camps and other activities. These are designed to build self-esteem, promote responsibility for one’s own actions and overcoming obstacles, and demonstrate the importance of academics, knowledge of career options and professional development, community involvement, and mental and physical fitness among youth of all socio-economic backgrounds. The foundation’s primary focus is to work with at-risk youth between the ages of 8 and 18 and a secondary focus on adults in employment transition.