By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
3:38 PM EST, January 4, 2013
Veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin has been named the Ravens' Walter Payton Man of the Year, recognizing him for his charitable efforts and play on the field.
Boldin is one of 32 NFL nominees for the national Walter Payton award, which is voted on by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Connie Payton, the widow of the late Chicago Bears running back.
“It’s an award for who you are as a player, beyond what you accomplish on the field,” coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s what you do in the offseason, what do in the community, how hard you work, all the things it takes to be great, which epitomizes Anquan Boldin.”
Through his Q81 Foundation, Boldin has hosted a summer enrichment program for high school students.
Last April, Boldin and former Arizona Cardinals teammate Larry Fitzgerald went on a mission to Ethiopia to provide hunger relief and build walls to protect against erosion.
“It meant a lot for me,” Boldin said. “Being from America, we’re spoiled. I got a chance to see first-hand the struggles of a lot of people in Africa. I thought that I had it hard growing up, but in no way compared to what they’re going through did I struggle at all. Going over there and experiencing it for myself allowed me to see exactly how blessed I am.”
In Baltimore, Boldin has given back with holiday shopping sprees and food distribution for needy families. And he has assembled care packages for overseas troops in conjunction with the Wounded Warrior Project.
As the local Walter Payton Man of the Year honoree, Boldin will receive $1,000 towards the Anquan Boldin Foundation. The top three finalists, with the announcement to be made this month, will receive an additional $5,000, and the eventual national winner will receive $25,000 toward his charity.
Boldin cares deeply about getting involved and helping out in the community.
“For me, it’s very important," Boldin said. "It’s who I am. When football fades, that’s still a facet of my life that will be there. And for me I feel obligated. As a believer, I feel that it’s my duty to give back. There’s enough pain, disappointment and hurt in this world, and for me I would like others to experience the love of God and see smiles on people’s faces."