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Patrick Mahomes: a ‘tremendous honor’ being nominated for Walter Payton award

On Wednesday, Kansas City’s quarterback reacted to being nominated for the NFL’s Man of the Year Award.

NFL: DEC 04 Chiefs at Bengals Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

At the age of just 27, Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes has put together quite a resume since joining the team in 2017. After his first year as a starter, he was named the NFL’s MVP in 2018. A year later, he led Kansas City to its first Super Bowl victory since 1969 — and was named Super Bowl MVP.

In the midst of yet another championship campaign, Mahomes finds himself chasing after a different type of accolade — but one that is just as important: the league’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

Kansas City’s superstar quarterback is one of 32 nominees — one from each team — who are now in the running for the award, which recognizes a player’s off-the-field commitment to philanthropy and community impact.

Since it was first awarded in 1970, a Chiefs player has won it five times: linebacker Willie Lanier (1972), quarterback Len Dawson (1973), linebacker Derrick Thomas (1993), guard Will Shields (2003) and guard Brian Waters (2009). Only one other team — the Chicago Bears — has had as many.

“I mean obviously, [it’s] a tremendous honor,” Mahomes said of his nomination on Wednesday. “Not only [for me] to be the Walter Payton nominee for the NFL, but for the Chiefs — who have the most Walter Payton Man of the Year [Awards].

“It’s such a prestigious honor for this organization — especially to [give] back to the community that gives us so much. There are so many deserving guys in our team, so for me to have my turn this year is something that I’ll hold [onto] for the rest of my life.”

Mahomes was nominated for the work he has done through his charity: the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation. The organization’s goal is to support the health and wellness of underprivileged communities through programs that encourage education, athletics and volunteerism. Mahomes established the charity in 2019.

“It’s way past what I even dreamed of it ever being,” he said. “And I think that that goes to the people that I have around me — and the people in the communities that have brought me up. They’ve been willing to give back and help me kind of follow this dream of giving back to the communities that help me out so much.”

Mahomes said that his foundation has received support from everywhere he’s ever been.

“The community [members] — like I said, in Kansas City and Tyler, Texas and Lubbock, Texas — that have donated their time, their money, whatever it is, to make this foundation become what it is? It’s truly special.”

After 24 years of head coaching experience, Kansas City head coach Andy Reid knows what it takes to be a leader at the highest level.

“He’s the one that’s one of the faces of the franchise,” Reid said of Mahomes on Wednesday. “You know he’s out there. This kid is known throughout — you probably could say, ‘throughout’ — the world. I was over in Italy and people were going, ‘Mahomes!’ And you’re going, ‘Al right!’ They know who he is. It’s a tribute to him and how he handles himself, you know? I think it’s great — I mean, I’m proud of him for what he’s done.”

Despite Reid’s praise, the always-humble Mahomes downplayed his impact.

“It takes everybody, not just me,” he explained. ”And everything that I do, I just try to go out there and enjoy the moments that I have. I know I’m blessed to be in this organization, to have the people that I have around me — and to be in this city.”

But Mahomes didn’t miss a chance to poke fun at his head coach.

“I don’t say I’m the face of the Chiefs, though,” he smiled. “That’s Coach Reid and that mustache. So I’m going to fall behind his lead.”

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