NEW ORLEANS — The honors keep pouring in for Elizabethton native Jason Witten.
Witten, the Dallas Cowboys star tight end, was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year on Saturday night.
The award recognizes a player’s philanthropic work off the field in addition to his skill on the playing field.
“I am extremely flattered to be chosen the 2012 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year from such an esteemed group of nominees,” Witten said in a statement on the ESPN website. “I work hard every day not only to be a success on the football field and a credit to my team — but to be a good husband, father, son, grandson, teammate — to be the kind of man that is as respected as Walter Payton was. ...
“It is honestly humbling to be recognized in such a manner for simply doing what I feel is right and human. I am fortunate to have a great support system in my family, the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL which allows me to make an impact in the communities and with people who love our game.”
The former University of Tennessee player created Jason Witten’s SCORE Foundation, which supports a variety of outreach programs and building projects in Texas and Tennessee. SCORE focuses on the recovery of victims of abuse and breaking the cycle of violence through education and mentoring.
Witten also conducts a yearly free youth football camp at Elizabethton High School’s Brown- Childress Stadium. He has been involved in the Children’s Cancer Fund Fashion Show, NFL Play 60, Boys and Girls Club of America and the Make-a-Wish Foundation, among other projects.
On Friday, Witten was given the Bart Starr Award, which recognizes one NFL player for outstanding character and leadership at home, on the field and in the community.