The New York Jets have named fullback Tony Richardson as their 2010 Walter Payton Man of the Year. Through his Rich in Spirit Foundation and the New York Jets community relations department, Tony has impacted many lives throughout the country. As the Jets' award winner, Richardson will receive $1,000 to donate to the Rich in Spirit Foundation, his 501(c)(3) organization of choice. This is Richardson's second Man of the Year Award as he also won the honor in 2008.
Richardson established the Rich in Spirit Foundation in 2000 to extend a helping hand and uplift the lives and spirits of individuals, with particular attention to enhancing personal growth in children. Since its inception, the three-time Pro Bowl fullback has personally donated more than $1.5 million and made more than 1,500 appearances. He runs all foundation activities and has no paid staff.
Tony was named Pro Football Weekly's Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian of the Year in 2003, was voted an NFL Good Guy for five consecutive years by the Sporting News, and was a finalist for the 2007 NFLPA Byron "Whizzer" White Award. He serves as spokesperson for the Jets Be A Champion disability awareness campaign and has hosted Special Olympics PPK competitions in Kansas City from 1999-2005 and Minnesota in 2006-07.
Richardson has sponsored The Dictionary Project in Kansas City since 2002, donating $170,000 and providing more than 113,000 dictionaries to students in Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota and Queens, N.Y. He has provided more than 5,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to City Union Mission and Boys & Girls Clubs. In 2005 he volunteered for the United Nations World Food Program, traveling to Sri Lanka and assisting with relief efforts in that tsunami-ravaged island nation.
Tony is a board member for the Greater Kansas City Boys & Girls Clubs and People to People International. He has donated equipment for football camps, hosted a holiday shopping event in New York City for 25 youth, and participated in annual Shop with a Jock events and Vikings KaBoom! Playground builds. He is a supporter of Shadow Buddies and visited Woodhull Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y., to deliver them.
He has taken advantage of NFL Player Programs, earning his bachelor's degree from Auburn and his MBA from Webster University, while also being an active participant in the NFL Entrepreneurship programs. And he was selected by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to serve on a six-member players' advisory committee.