Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick has been using his platform as an NFL player to raise awareness and money for his Blocking Out Hunger Foundation, which is aimed at eliminating childhood hunger throughout the Dallas—Fort Worth area.
Frederick has raised thousands of dollars for his cause and was recognized as the “Community MVP” in Week 7 by the NFL Players’ Association.
He’s added another honor to his name by being selected the Cowboys’ nominee for the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. Frederick grew up a Chicago Bears fan, so is very familiar with what this honor means.
“My grandfather was a huge, huge fan of Walter Payton and my dad grew up kind of as that was happening. He was a huge fan as well,” Frederick said. “Everything that I knew growing up was not only how good of a player that he was, but more importantly how good of a person he was. He was trying to accomplish so much more than just playing football and being great football.
“He wanted to be a great man. I think there’s no better namesake for the award.”
Frederick, along with the other nominees, will all wear a Payton decal on their helmet this weekend to recognize their accomplishments. Former winners still playing such as Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will have a patch on their jersey.
“It’s such a special group of men,” Witten said. “I take great pride and honor to represent Walter Payton and that award.”
Along with Witten, the Cowboys other winners of the award include Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. Frederick is hopeful to become the fourth, but is just grateful to be in the conversation. It’s well deserved as his teammates and coaches said.
“Travis is a fantastic guy,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Blocking Out Hunger has been a big thing for him. He typically has his offensive linemen buddies joining him and a lot of his teammates in that cause raising awareness and raising money. He’s a great leader on our team, he’s a great leader in our community.”
Added Witten: “Travis is more than deserving. He understands and really embodies all the traits you want -- great player, really good leader, involved in community. I’m proud of him, happy for him. He’s just made up of all the right stuff.”
Earlier this season, Frederick hosted an event for his charity that brought in more than $170,000. His foundation also hosts a golf-related event in the spring.
All 32 teams have a nominee for the award and three finalists will be named next month. The winner will be announced during the NFL Honors show on Feb. 3, the night before Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
“The Dallas Cowboys are proud to call Travis Frederick our 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee,” Charlotte Jones Anderson, the Cowboys’ executive vice president and chief brand officer, said in a statement. “The high quality of character, leadership and sportsmanship that Travis brings to the field is mirrored in his work off the field in the community. He is doing great things with his foundation to help those at-risk of food insecurity in North Texas. He is the embodiment of what this award stands for and we are so happy to have him on our team.”
2017 WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
Chris Harris Jr.
Green Bay Packers
Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Rams
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
New York Jets
San Francisco 49ers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers