Calais Campbell named “Arizona Cardinals/Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year”
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell is a monstrous giant on the field, but a gentle giant when he’s off it.
Campbell is one of THE most giving persons you’ll ever meet in life and he’s being recognized once again for it.
For the second time in his career, Campbell was named the “Arizona Cardinals/Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.” Campbell received this honor the first time back in 2011.
In receiving this honor, the NFL will grant $1,000 to the charity of Campbell’s choice.
“Every year since we drafted him [Campbell] in the second round in 2008, he’s done more and more in the community, and we couldn’t think of anybody more deserving,” team president Michael Bidwill said. “It always seems that Calais is available to do something for the community, particularly for kids, so we couldn’t be more proud that Calais has been named “Walter Payton Man of the Year” for the Arizona Cardinals.”
Campbell is one of 32 NFL “Man of the Year” winners to qualify for the NFL’s 2014 “Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year” award. The award highlights a player’s community service, as well as his stellar play on the gridiron.
“Anytime you get an award with Walter Payton’s name on it, that’s a pretty big deal,” Campbell said. “I try to do a lot of stuff in the community, because I feel like there’s a lot of potential there and I want to make sure I do my part, given the blessings I’ve been given, I want to make sure I pass along the torch.”
Campbell created the CRC Foundation back in 2010 to honor his late father, Charles Richard Campbell. The foundation seeks to enhance the community through the development of its young people. Campbell and the foundation host a number of events throughout the Valley, including providing meals to the less fortunate during Thanksgiving. They’ve done that for the past three years. In a few weeks, Campbell will host 300 families for Thanksgiving dinner.
Campbell says the desire to give back to others came from his father, who instilled that in him and his seven brothers and sisters at an early age.
“My father had us working and giving back and doing stuff growing up,” Campbell said. “That’s part of the way we grew up, we [were] active in the community.”
Campbell’s annual “Christmas with Calais” event is one where Campbell and his teammates take 100 underprivileged children on a holiday shopping spree to a local Target store. He also provides dinner for them and a chance to meet Santa Claus. Campbell hosted his second annual golf tournament back in April, and in September, Campbell hosted his fourth annual CRC Foundation Fundraiser Dinner at Eddie V’s in Scottsdale, Ariz.
In 2013, Campbell started “Right Track,” a daily after school program, which serves students from the Roosevelt School District with tutoring and mentoring. Campbell also created the “Cheer for a Cause” program last year, which encourages fans to help the team out at home games by cheering, and teaches them how to do so. Through the program, a fan wearing a Campbell jersey is selected randomly at a game and has a chance to win money for a charity of their choice.
Campbell has also teamed up with United Way and the NFL to serve as the Cardinals spokesperson to promote reading and stress the importance of education. Campbell’s participated in the United Way’s Great Phoenix Literacy Fair for the past two years.
The overall winner will be announced prior to Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz. Finalists for the award receive $5,000 for the charity of their choice from NFL Charities and the winner receives a $25,000 donation.
Campbell says it’s an honor to continue on in his father’s footsteps, giving back and being able to bless others.
“I believe that everything you do is about your legacy [and] leaving a mark when you leave this earth,” Campbell said. “My dad [was] such a great man and I’m just happy that I get to carry on his legacy.”
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