NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans announced today that tight end
Walker is now a finalist for the league-wide 2013 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award that will be awarded during the upcoming Super Bowl week. This prestigious NFL award has been in existence since 1970 and is the only NFL award that honors players who demonstrate outstanding balance in their lives between civic and professional responsibilities. In 1999, the NFL renamed the award after the late Walter Payton as a tribute to his greatness, both on and off the field. Man of the Year candidates were chosen based on guidelines from the NFL that state all candidates should have completed at least three seasons in the NFL and be currently playing in at least their fourth NFL season.
"I am humbled to be named the Tennessee Titans' Man of the Year, and grateful for being affiliated with such an outstanding organization,” said Walker. “Since arriving in Tennessee, I've been inspired and energized by the culture of giving back, exemplified by the ownership and empowered every day by my teammates. I will continue to do my best to represent the team on and off the field in a way that lives up to these standards, and hope to touch and inspire others in the process. The best part about this recognition is the continued awareness of my work with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a cause that is very dear to me and my family."
“Our family is very pleased to have Delanie represent the team as our 2013 Community Man of the Year,” said Titans President / CEO Tommy Smith. “Delanie’s effort on behalf of MADD, in the wake of such a family tragedy, is an inspiration to us all. We are equally proud of our 2013 Community All- Stars for their work as all of these men have set the bar high for giving back to our community.”
“Unfortunately, Delanie’s experience of losing loved ones in a drunk driving crash is not unique,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “However, his reaction to that tragedy has been extraordinary. MADD is appreciative of Delanie’s tireless efforts to encourage fans and fellow players alike to always plan ahead for a safe way home because drunk driving is senseless and 100 percent preventable.”
1997 - Al Del Greco
1998 - Al Del Greco
1999 - Chris Sanders
2000 - Kenny Holmes
2001 - Jason Fisk
2002 - Kevin Carter
2003 - Kevin Carter
2004 - Kevin Carter
2005 - Steve McNair
2006 - Keith Bulluck
2007 - Keith Bulluck
2008 - David Thornton
2009 - Kyle Vanden Bosch
2010 - Cortland Finnegan
2011 - Cortland Finnegan
2012 - Jared Cook
2013 - Delanie Walker
DELANIE WALKER'S COMMUNITY BIO
In his first season with the Tennessee Titans, this eight-year NFL veteran quickly proved his value to the team both on and off the field. His receiving stats thru 14 games with Titans are all career single season bests in all three categories: 53 catches, 507 yards and 6 TDs. Delanie’s positive attitude and dedication to winning have quickly made him a fan favorite. However, when the crowds go home and the locker room empties, Delanie is best known for his spokesperson duties on behalf of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in an effort to combat driving under the influence.
Alice and Bryan Young, Walker’s aunt and uncle, were killed by an alleged drunk driver after watching Walker play in the most recent Super Bowl as a member of the 49ers. Just a few hours earlier, Walker had hugged Alice and Bryan at the team’s postgame party. Walker became determined to raise awareness of the dangers of drunk driving and has become a very active spokesperson for MADD.
Walker has represented MADD on both a local and national level, sharing his story with other players, team executives, media and fans across the country. Taking such a stance is not common among young professional athletes but Walker continues to speak brazenly about the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as leading by example. He understands that his voice could save lives.
In May 2013, Walker drafted a letter to members of the Tennessee legislature lobbying for ignition-interlock systems in cars for first-time DUI offenders. The day that bill was signed into law, Walker was present at Tennessee’s state capitol sharing his story and praising lawmakers.
He also spoke at the 2013 NFL rookie symposium in June, speaking from the heart and warning this year’s draft class of the dangers of driving under the influence.
Walker continues to raise awareness and funds for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. In October, Walker held a Monday Night Football event with MADD, signing autographs and hosting a private fundraising dinner.
In addition to his efforts assisting MADD, Walker has also teamed with local organizations to impact the lives of children. Walker is working with Country Music Association’s “Gift For All” campaign to collect holiday gifts for homeless families in Nashville. Walker taped a call-to-action for toy donations that will air locally and also on the national CMA Country Christmas special. He plans to start a community fund in 2014 that will continue to impact underserved youth in a positive way.
This past May Walker participated in annual Titans Caravan, sharing the NFL’s Play 60 message to students and also advocating his support of MADD to students and media during three school programs and two public appearances (all on one day) while also signing autographs / taking photos with Titans fans.
He also visited newborns / families at Nashville’s Saint Thomas-Midtown Hospital during SIDS Awareness Month this past September.