The Philadelphia Eagles have named safety Malcolm Jenkins as their nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
Considered one of the league's most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field as well as excellence on the field.
Three of the 32 nominees will be selected as finalists for the national award, renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back. Finalists will be announced in January 2018.
"I'm so proud to be the Philadelphia Eagles' nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award," Jenkins said.
"I think it's important for athletes on any level, but especially pro athletes, to use their platform for more than themselves, more than the monetary gains, but to really make an impact."
Jenkins leads the team tied for the best record in the NFL with 93 tackles. He also has two interceptions and a sack.
One of the best free agent signings in Eagles history, Jenkins has four interception returns for touchdowns since joining the team in 2014 which ranks second just behind Eric Allen for most in the team record book.
In 2015, Jenkins earned his first Pro Bowl nomination after career highs in tackles (120), pass deflections (15), and forced fumbles (3).
Jenkins was previously recognized for his community work back in February as the recipient of the NFLPA's Byron "Whizzer" White Award. Jenkins joined Eagles Hall of Famers Brian Dawkins, Troy Vincent, and Reggie White as previous winners.
Vincent and fellow Eagles Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael are former winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
Jenkins launched the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation in 2010 to provide resources, experiences, and opportunities for underserved youth. The organization's goal is to inspire and create positive change in the lives of children.
He recently opened a custom suit store in Philadelphia, Damari Savile, that works with MenzFit, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide professional interview clothing, career development, and financial literacy services for low-income men to gain long-term employment. Jenkins has worked tirelessly with community grassroots organizations and legislators on Capitol Hill and in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in an effort to improve social equality.
"Hopefully, I can be an example to my kids to be a part of the solution that they want to see; to be the change that they want to see in the world," Jenkins said. "To be leaders and thinkers and not be afraid to speak out and not be afraid to stand up for other people. Everything that I've accomplished was made possible by somebody else who sacrificed and who took those fights on."
The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation has awarded over $100,000 in college scholarships since 2012. Every year, Jenkins hosts a free two-day football camp for youth aged 7-17. Over 3,600 families in Ohio and Philadelphia have been provided medical screenings, food, toiletries, and wellness resources totaling over $1 million in products and services. This past summer, 75 elementary school students from Philadelphia attended a free six-week camp exposing them to science, technology, engineering, arts, athletics, and mathematics. For the holidays, 275 families in Philadelphia and New Orleans are provided with a turkey and all of the sides for a festive meal.
"I'm most proud of the fact that we've been able to sustain ourselves in four different states without losing any of our programs," Jenkins said. "We started in New Orleans and it was very important to me once I left New Orleans that our programs stayed intact and they have."
Jenkins was willing to answer the call in 2016 when Anquan Boldin, a longtime NFL receiver who retired in 2017, was looking for other NFL players to visit Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers and legislators to push for criminal justice reform. He came back to Philadelphia and brought community leaders and police to the table to have discussions. Jenkins participated in a ride-along with police to gain a better understanding of the challenges they encounter. He's been back to Capitol Hill and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He spent a day with Chairman and CEO Jeffery Lurie and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to talk about why criminal justice reform is needed.
The NFL and player representatives reportedly reached an agreement where the league and teams will give $90 million to social causes. The deal is expected to be finalized at the league meeting later this month.
"What we've done has been making a difference. We see the momentum that we have at this point and time. It's just about continuing to capitalize on it," Jenkins said. "It's encouraging to me because I know the work is not going unnoticed. Everybody wants to be a part of change."