The award, widely considered a great honor among the NFL, is awarded each year to an NFL player who shows excellence in their community on and off the field. Jaylon Smith has exhibited all of the prerequisites for this award, launching the Minority Entrepreneurship Institute to help minority owned small businesses. He's pledged $2.5 million to the MEI over the next 10 years.
Cowboys selected LB Jaylon Smith as their nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. He has promoted and invested in minority business owners as part of his Minority Entrepreneurship Institute, which seeks to help close the nation’s racial economic gap.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) December 10, 2020
Jaylon Smith gave a statement to DallasCowboys.com, saying that it's humbling to be put in the same breath as Walter Payton.
“To be named in the same breath as NFL Legends like Walter Payton for the good work that we, as professional athletes, can use our platform for is humbling and it only encourages me to work harder to lift those up around me. MEI is my purpose beyond athletics, and I am excited that this award will help fuel our vision” – Jaylon Smith.
Jaylon will now wear a decal on his helmet to recognize his great efforts off of the field for the rest of the season.
Congratulations to Jaylon Smith for this nomination, and we hope to see him named the winner of this year's award on Super Bowl Sunday.