The Carolina Panthers announced Thursday that they have nominated former UNC star Julius Peppers as the team’s representative for this year’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which is the NFL’s only honor that recognizes excellence both on and off the field.

Each of the league’s 32 teams select one nominee for the award, with the field ultimately being whittled down to three finalists and one winner.

The winner will have $500,000 donated in their name, with half going to a charity of their choice and the other half going to expand Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way’s digital character education program.

Peppers–a 17-year NFL veteran who is a lock to be in the Hall of Fame upon his retirement–started the Julius Peppers Hurricane Relief Fund through Foundation for the Carolinas with a $100,000 dollar donation following Hurricane Florence.

Throughout his career with the Panthers, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, he has also donated to UNC’s Light on the Hill Society Scholarship, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Chicago and various churches nationwide.

Panthers’ linebacker Thomas Davis previously won the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2014, while tight end Greg Olsen was a finalist in both 2016 and 2017.





Photo via Associated Press