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Jurrell Casey Named Titans Walter Payton Man of the Year


** looks at 2016 Titans Walter Payton Man of the Year Jurrell Casey's work in the community this past year. (Staff Photos)


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jurrell Casey is a force on the football field.

As a 305-pound defensive lineman for the Tennessee Titans, Casey makes his living being as disruptive as he can be in between the white lines. He throws around offensive linemen, tackles running backs, and sacks quarterbacks.

The dirty work has earned him Pro Bowl recognition.

Casey has also rolled up his sleeves and done plenty of work off the field as well, and his work hasn't gone unnoticed.

Casey is the 2016 Titans recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

Casey is now a finalist for the league-wide 2016 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 it 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.

"It is huge honor, and it is something that means a lot to me,'' Casey said. "I want people in the community to see me do things the right way on the field and off the field. When I see the impact a good deed can have, it brings me lots of joy.

"But this is just the beginning. I want to do what I can to help others. Me and my wife want to help change the world and make it an even better place."

Casey, a three-time team captain who went to the Pro Bowl last season, was a third-round draft pick by the Titans in the 2010 NFL Draft out of Southern Cal. He's played in 91 career games, and has tallied 459 tackles with 31 career sacks and 40 tackles for loss.

He's also been a monster in the community.

This year, complimenting his success on the field, Jurrell and his wife, Ryann, established the Casey Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to raising money for re-entry programs, inner-city youth programs, mentoring and halfway houses. The Casey Fund helps people in need, including people who have been incarcerated. When he was in high school, Jurrell's older brother, Jurray, was convicted of first-degree murder and he remains incarcerated.

In addition to his work through his foundation, Jurrell also serves as the spokesperson for United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, donating his time and likeness to ad-campaigns and partaking in community events hosted by the organization.

Over the summer, in his hometown of Long Beach, Calif., Jurrell hosted a free youth football skills camp for linemen.

Casey recently hosted a food drive for 200 underprivileged families in Nashville prior to Thanksgiving. He's also currently planning his first fundraiser for the Casey Fund – a chili cook-off in April.

Casey has participated in nine community events for the Titans already this season.

"What makes Jurrell so special is his unwavering commitment to advancing the common good," said Tina Tuggle, Director of Community Relations for the Tennessee Titans. "He seizes every opportunity to make an impact. He has harnessed his platform as a professional athlete and will use it to the best of his ability, and we know that he will continue to do so long after his playing days are over."

Casey said he developed the mentality of wanting to give back from watching his mom, Collette Burns.

Now, he wants to do his part.

"My mom really brought us up that way, and just seeing her open her arms to people in the community, trying to put a smile on the faces of other people, it made an impact on me,'' Casey said. "And being with my wife has driven me to want to do that even more, because she is a real kind and giving woman, always wanting to look out for other people besides herself.

"Just to see two people like that, two strong women in my life, to see them put other people in front of them, I think that is great and it drives me to want use my platform to give back just like they do."

The NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year will receive a one million dollar donation – $500,000 to the charity of his choice and $500,000 in his name to expand Character Playbook, an interactive online course focused on youth character development and building healthy relationships.

Two finalists each receive a $125,000 donation to the charity of their choice and $125,000 donation to expand Character Playbook.

The three finalists will be announced in January, with the winner announced during the annual NFL Honors show, airing the day before Super Bowl LI. The remaining 29 team winners receive a $50,000 donation to the charity of their choice, plus an additional $50,000 donation to expand Character Playbook in their club's market.

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