MINNEAPOLIS (KXAN) — The Texans didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, but one of their own was recognized that night in Minneapolis. Defensive end J.J. Watt earned the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
“Truly humbled and honored. Thank you,” Watt tweeted.
The award was established in 1970, and recognizes players’ excellence on and off the field. Winning the award means that the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide will donate $500,000 in Watt’s name — half to a charity of his choice and half to expand the NFL Foundation’s Character Playbook.
Watt started a fundraising campaign on YouCaring.com shortly after the storm hit, with an initial goal of raising $200,000. He increased the amount as more donations poured in and millions were raised to help those in hard-hit areas. More than 200,000 people donated $37,068,102 as of Sunday. Watt also faced challenges during the season after breaking his leg in October in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Watt was recognized as the award’s winner surrounded by former recipients and Payton’s children.