The Philadelphia Eagles have announced Lane Johnson as their nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide. Considered one of the league's most prestigious honors, the award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field.
"I'm incredibly honored to be named the Eagles' Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year alongside an inspiring group of men who are making a difference in their communities," said Johnson. "I've been fortunate to spend my entire career playing for an organization and city that has embraced me at my best, but more importantly, supported me and helped me through some of my darkest moments. Playing this game has always been a passion of mine, but being able to share my mental health journey through the platform football has given me has been a rewarding experience. I'm grateful to have had a strong support system, and my hope is to support others who are suffering in silence by opening doors for them to feel comfortable enough sharing their stories."
On the field, Johnson has emerged as one of the top offensive tackles in the NFL. Originally a fourth overall draft pick of the Eagles in the 2013 NFL Draft, Lane is a four-time Pro Bowl honoree (2018, 2019, 2020, 2023), three-time Associated Press All-Pro (2017, 2021, 2022), and was part of a core that led Philadelphia to its first Super Bowl championship in 2017. He is one of three Eagles offensive linemen to be named to multiple AP All-Pro teams and to earn three consecutive Pro Bowl nods. In 2022, on the path to Super Bowl LVII, Johnson earned Pro Bowl and AP first-team All-Pro recognition after leading an offensive line that helped the Eagles establish team records in points (477), rushing touchdowns (T-3rd in NFL history), third-down conversions (45.9%), and red zone touchdown efficiency (67.8%).
Off the field, Lane has shown dedication and commitment to mental health advocacy. Initially diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in 2008, it wasn't until 2021 that Johnson finally opened up about his mental health after unexpectedly missing three games due to anxiety and depression. He has since used his experience to advocate for mental health awareness and treatment. From leading his first speaking engagement in 2022 for the Jewish Federation of Atlantic and Cape May Counties in South Jersey, where he spoke to more than 80 people, to now partnering with Kooth, a free and confidential mental health service for Philadelphia youth, Lane has proven himself as a role model in the community. As a Kooth ambassador, Johnson raises awareness for the program, which ensures youth who are underserved, or afraid to talk about their mental health, are aware of accessible resources available to them. This year, Johnson has made an effort to localize his advocacy in the community, leading several talks on mental health, acceptance, and his treatment journey.
One of the things that has helped Lane persevere through his own mental health struggles is being of service to others. During the 2023 season, Lane has honored his heroes by hosting Gold Star families and Silver Star recipients through his Gold Star Family initiative. These visits provide a unique experience to exchange stories and help each other overcome adversity.
"Lane Johnson has been a vital part of this team and community for the past 11 years," said Jeffrey Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles Chairman and CEO. "His accomplishments on the field speak for themselves, but the work he is doing off the field is changing lives. His passion and vulnerability as a mental health advocate serve as an inspiration to so many. Not only was Lane strong enough to seek the help needed to tackle his own battles, but he's now using his experiences and platform to help others going through similar situations. That courage and resiliency speak volumes to the type of person Lane is. His strength and leadership, both on and off the field, are just a few examples of why he is so deserving of this recognition."
Furthermore, Johnson has devoted himself to supporting local charities. During the 2022 offseason, Johnson recorded a Christmas album, entitled "A Philly Special Christmas," with teammates Jason Kelce and Jordan Mailata. The album gained national attention and raised more than $1.25 million for Philadelphia charities. The trio released its second album, "A Philly Special Christmas Special," in November 2023.
Johnson also spends his offseasons giving back to his peers by helping them perfect their crafts. In 2018 he co-created the OL Masterminds Summit with his friend and OL guru Duke Manyweather. The annual meeting brings together OL from the NFL and college to discuss the technical and mental aspects of their craft, invest in each other and advance OL appreciation. He also converted a horse barn on his property into a world-class home gym that is famously known as the "Bro Barn" where he hosts groups of Eagles and other NFL players for competitive workouts.
Leveraging the NFL's My Cause My Cleats initiative, Johnson has supported The 98 Fund & The Brian Bill Foundation, two organizations that provide mentorship and healing opportunities for veterans and their families.
As a nominee for the national award, Lane will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season in recognition of his accomplishments on and off the field. Additional elements of the nomination include:
• Nationwide's 9th annual Charity Challenge – Between Dec. 5 and Jan. 8, fans can help Lane win an additional donation to the charity of his choice, Travis Manion Foundation, by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by 'Johnson' and/or '@LaneJohnson65' anywhere within a tweet.
• Alltroo Campaign – Fans can further support Lane by entering an online fundraiser customized by each player for the chance to win special prizes and experiences. All proceeds raised will directly support Lane's charity of choice, Travis Manion Foundation.
All 32 nominees will be recognized for their achievements during the week leading up to Super Bowl LVIII. The 2023 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winner will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air nationally on CBS on Thursday, Feb. 8.
Since the establishment of the award in 1970, the Eagles have had three players earn the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award (2018 – Chris Long; 2002 – Troy Vincent; 1980 – Harold Carmichael).