Each season, every NFL team nominates one player for their team for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award. The award is given to the player who demonstrates exceptional play on and off the field through leadership and community service.
This season, the Bears nominated defensive tackle Justin Jones for the award.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
"His leadership with this team has been outstanding since he’s been here,” said Bears general manager Ryan Poles. “I think the cool thing in terms of how he’s helped be a mentor for other people in the city of Chicago as well as young players on our team, is he’s tapping into former experiences that he’s gone through.
"If it’s performance anxiety, if it’s just coming up as a young football player trying to reach his goals, going through the ups and downs of a career — it’s never a linear path. So, for him to use some of the knowledge he’s had from his past and spread that not only to the community but to his teammates has really impacted this team and this locker room.”
Jones is an active participant in supporting Chicago's community.
He selected Youth Guidance to support as part of the My Cause My Cleats initiative from the NFL.
He has personally assisted Nicole Mitchell, a single, deaf mother of three kids. Jones provided the family with essential items and Christmas gifts.
Jones is an avid supporter of CPS Girls' Flag Football. He also holds an annual football camp in Atlanta, Ga. for high school players.
"It's a privilege and an honor to be nominated for this award by my coaches and teammates," said Jones. "I do my best to give back to Chicago communities. Coming from a humble background myself, I want to find ways to help people without expecting anything in return."
Jones will wear the Walter Payton Man of the Year decal on his helmet for the rest of the season.
This season's nominees will be recognized for their achievements during the week leading up to the Super Bowl. 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.
The last person to win the award was Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott last season. The last Chicago Bear to win the award was Charles Tillman in 2013