NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Titans cornerback Jason McCourty has been named the 2014 Titans Walter Payton Man of the Year for his outstanding work in the community.
McCourty's off-field efforts in 2014 have included educating the public about Sickle Cell, mentoring local youth and promoting healthy living to prevent childhood obesity. In addition, he serves as the Titans' team representative for the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville and as the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association Fuel Up to Play 60 ambassador, among other endeavors.
Titans Online looks back at the philanthropic work of CB Jason McCourty, the team's 2014 Community Man of the Year. (staff photos)
McCourty is now a finalist for the league-wide 2014 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.
"It's humbling to receive this honor," McCourty said. "To be able to get out and give back to the community, not only here in Nashville but also back in my hometown is very rewarding. I'm blessed to be in a position to make a difference in the lives of other people. It's awesome to be able to see the smiles on kids' faces and let them know that you actually care by giving your time, doing things with them and having a good time."
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 very proud to have seen Jason grow throughout the years," said Tina Tuggle, director of community relations for the Titans. "Jason's commitment to excellence shows how dedicated he is in all that he does. He is a devoted family man and a great leader on and off the field. It brings me great pleasure to see him receive such a deserving award and know that he will continue to do great things in the Titans community."
McCourty has been one of the veteran leaders of the Titans' defense since being selected in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft. The former Rutgers standout has been the team's defensive captain since the 2012 season and also serves as the NFLPA Player representative.
Since assuming a starting role in 2011, McCourty has led the team in passes defensed with 58 and is tied with Michael Griffin for the team lead in interceptions with nine. McCourty currently leads the team in interceptions (3), passes defensed (12) and forced fumbles (2), and owns a streak of 47 consecutive starts, the longest active streak on the team.
TITANS COMMUNITY MAN OF THE YEAR WINNERS SINCE FRANCHISE MOVED TO TENNESSEE IN 1997
1997 - Al Del Greco
1998 - Al Del Greco
1999 - Chris Sanders
2000 - Kenny Holmes
2001 - Jason Fisk
Titans CB Jason McCourty is named the team's 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year for his outstanding work in the community. (Donn Jones Photography)
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
2014 - Jason McCourty
JASON McCOURTY'S COMMUNITY BIO
•Jason is a team captain both on and off the field. He is currently in his second year as the Titans team representative for the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville. As the United Way representative, McCourty participates in a number of volunteer and advocacy opportunities, including taping public service announcements (PSAs) to promote the United Way Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, volunteering hands-on at United Way Days of Action, and participating in other unique opportunities made available through the strength of the United Way partnerships at work daily in the Nashville community.
•McCourty was also chosen as the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association Fuel Up to Play 60 ambassador for the 2014 season. As the ambassador, Jason encourages youth to fuel their bodies with a nutritious diet and to be active for 60 minutes a day. One of the many ways he aimed to promote the initiative was by endorsing the Fuel Up to Play 60 program in a Nickelodeon commercial.
•Jason enjoys spending time with youth at the local non-profit, Youth Encouragement Services (YES). Not only does he mentor, tutor, and shoot a few hoops with the children at the local community center, he makes donations and participates in PSAs to raise awareness for the non-profit organization. In a continued effort to mentor and encourage youth Jason, along with his twin brother Devin of the New England Patriots, host an annual free football camp for kids aged 7-14 in their hometown of Nyack, New Jersey.
•Over the years, Jason and Devin have chosen to use their platform to help others. Seeing first-hand the devastating effects of Sickle Cell on family members, the twins partnered with Embrace Kids Foundation, a non-profit that supports children and families battling Sickle Cell.
•In 2013, the McCourty twins launched their Tackle Sickle Cell campaign, which aims to educate the public, increase blood donors and raise money for the fight against sickle cell disease. Over the last 2 years, they hosted multiple blood drives and fundraising events in their home state. In 2014, they expanded the campaign to the cities of their respective NFL teams Boston, MA and Nashville, TN. In Nashville not only does Jason meet personally with the doctors and sickle cell patients, Jason is also actively organizing fundraisers to further support local Nashville families battling sickle cell disease.