Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk was named the 2011 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year on Saturday, recognizing him for community service.
Birk, who spent 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and was a six-time Pro Bowl selection while in Minnesota, promotes the importance of education and started the "Ready, Set, Read!" program, an initiative of his H.I.K.E. Foundation (Hope, Inspiration, Knowledge and Education), which reaches close to 100,000 kids in the Baltimore Area. The Harvard has been an eight-time nominee for the award, seven times as a member of the Vikings.
"I am honored and truly humbled to be named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year," Birk said is a statement. "This award is not about the recipient but rather a celebration of the decades-long tradition of NFL players using their unique platform to touch lives and make a positive and lasting impact in the communities in which they work and live.
"Walter Payton left a legacy that went beyond the playing field. He ...