PHOENIX — For the fourth time in franchise history, the Cowboys have a winner for the prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
Dak Prescott, the Cowboys' quarterback and leader, took home one of the most prestigious awards of the night on Thursday at the NFL Honors show in Phoenix.
Prescott joins Jason Witten, Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach as the winners of this award, which recognizes an NFL player for his outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field.
During the 2022 season, Prescott missed five games with a broken thumb, but returned to lead the Cowboys to a top-5 scoring offense and a 12-5 record. He also guided the franchise to its first road playoff win in 30 years, outlasting Tampa Bay's Tom Brady in the final game of his career.
Prescott was one of 32 nominees announced back in December as each team has one representative.
Overcoming adversity and striving for excellence is what motivates Prescott on the field and in the community through his Faith Fight Finish foundation (FFF). He has missed at least one game due to injury in each of the last three years, including the final 10 games of 2020 when he suffered a devastating ankle injury that required surgery.
Prescott was able to play 16 of 17 games in 2021 and was a finalist for NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
After the loss of his brother to suicide in 2020 and a desire to make an impact on social justice causes, Prescott has a renewed purpose towards helping others. He expanded the original mission of his foundation to not only raise funds and awareness for cancer, but to also tackle suicide prevention and mental health, and help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
Views of Walter Manning Player of the Year Award winner, Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott, during the NFL Honors award show, in Phoenix, AZ.
Prescott and FFF have worked tirelessly to align with trusted partners to implement solutions to the issues plaguing our nation. In the wake of the senseless murder of George Floyd, Prescott lent his voice to the dialogue, penning an op-ed piece in which he vowed to take action to rid communities of racism, racial-profiling and hate. He pledged one million dollars to police training, education and advocacy.
Since that time, FFF has worked to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect, by forming the Law Enforcement Steering Committee comprised of youth, community leaders and law enforcement personnel that addresses systemic racism through education and advocacy.
In May 2022, FFF hosted The North Texas Townhall in collaboration with the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers, where over 250 youth participated in a meaningful dialogue with law enforcement officers.
FFF is also working to bring the CYCLE training program to communities across the country, delivering law enforcement officers a high-level curriculum specifically created to transform police interactions with community members, especially young men of color in underserved areas. At Prescott's insistence, the police and community training were enhanced to include modules on mental health awareness and community service.
Mental health awareness became a cause Prescott began championing after losing his brother, Jace, to suicide during the isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic. Prescott's promise is to make sure that Jace's life will be "a life taken to save millions."Through collaboration with NFL players Soloman Thomas and Hayden Hurst, Prescott and FFF are sponsoring programs created to teach educators to connect with students in crisis and identify the signs of depression and mental illness. Additionally, FFF has partnered with the Kevin Love Fund to support Social Emotional Learning programs that focus on destigmatizing emotions that are often labeled as "negative" while raising awareness for mental health so youth know they are not alone in facing challenging emotions.
All 32 nominees will receive up to a $40,000 donation in their name to their charity of choice. As the winner, Prescott will receive a $250,000 donation to FFF. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
Read Prescott's full Walter Payton Award nominee profile HERE.