CINCINNATI — Defensive tackle Geno Atkins is the Bengals' 2020 nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
The award is given to players who take part in community service off the field while performing well on the field.
Atkins has been a mainstay on the Bengals' defensive line since he was drafted in 2010, and he and his wife, Kristen, have been giving back to Cincinnati with their Atkins' Week of Giving. This year, their week of giving was extended for an eighth day across the week leading up to Thanksgiving in order to help more families dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier in 2020, Atkins donated $100,000 to the Freestore Foodbank, which provided 300,000 meals to those in need across the Tri-State. Atkins is also an ambassador for the American Diabetes Association.
"As an NFL player, I understand the importance of using my platform to positively impact the lives of others,” Atkins said. "It has been an honor to be able to give back to others, and some of the most meaningful moments of my career have been moments spent in the community.”
As a nominee for the award, Atkins will wear a helmet decal for the remainder of the year designating him as a nominee for the award.
The winner of the award will be announced during NFL Honors, an awards show special which airs leading up to Super Bowl LV. The NFL Foundation and Nationwide give all nominees for the award $40,000 to donate to a charity of their choosing, and the winner of the award will receive $250,000 to donate to a charity of their choosing.