Star running back Saquon Barkley is the Giants’ nomination for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the team announced on Tuesday.
The winner of the award, given to the player who “excels on the field and demonstrates a passion for creating a lasting, positive impact beyond the game in their communities,” will be announced during the NFL Honors on Feb. 8.
“I understand that God has blessed me with an unbelievable talent along with an unbelievable opportunity to play in the National Football League and to be a person that a lot of kids look up to,” Barkley said. “I want to make sure that with the time I have playing in the NFL and on this earth, I try to make a change, try to make an impact on someone’s life and fulfill my purpose.”
He receives up to a $55,000 donation for his cause, which is his work With Covenant House in New Jersey, which assists young people ages 18-21 who are facing homelessness and human trafficking by offering immediate shelter and longer-term services to help them gain independence.
This is the second consecutive year that Barkley has been the Giants’ nominee where he’s helped raise $7 million over the last five years.
“I wasn’t homeless for a long time, but there was a time in my life that we were homeless,” Barkley said. “I know how much it meant to have family members, to have friends that were able to help and look out and help us get back on our feet. When I think back on that time in my life, my parents did such a really good job that, as a child, you really didn’t realize it, to be completely honest. My parents worked really hard and tried their best, and that’s why I’m so thankful to be able to have both parents in my life and have an unbelievable family.
“Knowing now, I can understand how someone who cares about you and someone who wants to help and someone who wants to make change, I know how much that impacted my life … I want to do the same for others.”
For the full list of nominees, click here.