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Andrew Whitworth named Walter Payton Man of the Year

Andrew Whitworth received the last award of the night for the 11th edition of the NFL Honors on Thursday, February 10, 2022. The award, Walter Payton Man of the Year, recognizes players of “outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as on it.”

Whitworth is a native to the Monroe-West Monroe area. He was born in Monroe, Louisiana on December 12, 1981, and attended school at West Monroe High School. During his high school football career, Whitworth was rated by as the sixth-best offensive line prospect in the nation. He then moved on to play football at Louisiana State University where he earned All-Southeastern Conference first-team honors in both of his last two seasons, including a consensus nod as a senior.

Whitworth was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft.

During his acceptance speech, Whitworth thanked his wife, Melissa, for her passion for community service and her support for him. He credited the community around him for having the opportunity to play. He also advised others to put an investment in their community to help kids succeed and obtain their goals. Investments that include giving back financially, contributing your time, and using your platform and voice to bring about a change. Whitworth said, “Social media has been great for bringing awareness for all our causes. But that's not enough. We need more action. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, this is the truth: The people who come to see us play, who watch our game on TV, buy our jerseys, who follow you on social media, they're why our game exists. It's why we have a field to play on. We are financially supported and provided the opportunity to play a kids' game, because of the support we receive from communities across the county and across the world.”

Whitworth is currently set to become the oldest offensive lineman in Super Bowl history at the age of 40.

Whitworth created a program, Big Whit Homes for L.A. families, and pledged to donate $20,000 after every Rams home game. He also made donations to help repair homes in Louisiana. Additionally, Whitworth spends his free time working with different non-profits in his area. Through these programs, he helps families in paying rent, buying groceries, and offering support to families for down payments on their homes as well as furnishing them.

With this award, Whitworth will receive $250,000 to donate to a charity of his choice.

Big Whit and the Los Angeles Rams will be playing the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, February, 13.

Sydney Russo is originally from West Monroe, Louisiana. She is currently enrolled in The University of Louisiana at Monroe and is studying Communications. Her concentration is in Digital Media.