The New York Jets name Solomon Thomas their nominee for the WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD. Considered one of the league's most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. Each of the league's 32 nominees were announced today.
As the Co-Founder of the nonprofit The Defensive Line, Solomon Thomas has not only committed financially to the causes he believes in, but he also actively contributes his time, energy, and mind to the growth and success of his organization. His public speaking always centers around the hopefulness he carries and the belief he has that everyone has extraordinary value and deserves to live healthy lives. His message is positive and uplifting, and he shares it in public as much as he does privately with those around him. He doesn't push, but he offers insight and experience, sharing a kind of wisdom that people crave and thrive on. The work with The Defensive Line has included a partnership with The Super Football Conference in New Jersey to speak with high school students about mental health, the 988 campaign with Dak Prescott and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and an educational panel for all of Paramount Global in October.
Solomon has consistently demonstrated a generous and quiet giving mentality, donating to many organizations over the years, including: The Golden Heart Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Tracy Kipp Minnesota, Champion Charities Foundation, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Hui Aloha Kiholo, Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition, 22 And You Foundation, My Brother's Keeper, Blue Dragon, and many others. When a member of the 49ers staff lost everything in the Paradise Fires, Solomon supported them financially.
Additionally, he has hosted a Youth Football Camp for middle and high school footballers in his hometown to learn from elite coaches and players providing a once in a lifetime experience for these young people. This season, for the holidays, Solomon hosted a Turkey Giveaway in partnership with Interfaith Food Pantry Network in Morris Plains, NJ, and will host a Shop with a Jock Christmas shopping spree with Boys and Girls Club of Hoboken which will provide the kids with a gift card from Walmart.
Solomon leads by action. He leads through showing people the kind of person he is. He leads by creating a life of giving back, by sharing his time to the public and advocating for the things he believes in, and by unsparingly sharing the bounty of what he works extraordinarily hard for.
"It's the highest of honors to be nominated for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award for the New York Jets. I'm blessed to have a platform to impact lives and give back to help others," said Thomas. "I believe it's a duty of ours to uplift those fighting for better, a duty I will hold forever."
"Solomon exemplifies what it means to be a New York Jet," said Jets President Hymie Elhai. "Since he has joined our organization, he has made a dramatic impact on mental health within the North Jersey Super Football Conference. Leading by example, he is sheading light on a very important cause and normalizing the need to prioritize mental health as well as physical."
As a nominee, Thomas will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season in recognition of his accomplishments on and off the field.
For the fourth year in a row, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as nominees and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LVII. The 2022 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air the Thursday before Super Bowl LVII, on NBC.
All 32 nominees will receive up to a $40,000 donation in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive up to a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice.
Fans are encouraged to participate in 8th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by their favorite nominee's last name or Twitter handle. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 6 and Jan. 8 will receive a $25,000 contribution to his charity of choice, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations. Hashtag information and official rules can be found at www.nfl.com/manoftheyear.