The night before the Super Bowl is when the NFL Honors is held, recognizing players for their achievements both on and off the field for the previous season. San Francisco 49ers WR Anquan Boldin is a finalist for one of the most coveted awards, the Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award. This award is given based on the player's work off of the field, their charitable foundations and humanitarian efforts. Eli Manning of the New York Giants and Benjamin Watson of the New Orleans Saints are also finalists.
Boldin's desire to give back came from his parents who were his role models as a youth. There would often be many children at the family house, even if their own supplies were somewhat scarce. His parents weren't looking for recognition, they were just doing what needed to be done, which is what Boldin says he is doing as well.
Boldin has been on three different NFL rosters and has worked diligently in each of those communities as well as in his hometown, and overseas. His Q81 Foundation awards scholarships to graduating high school students every year. These recipients are determined by a "serious application" process in which Boldin is thoroughly involved. "My wife and I read every essay turned in."
Boldin has also opened himself up to being a mentor for other players wanting to start their own foundations. He held a round table discussion during Super Bowl Week to help explain some of the hurdles involved in starting up a charitable organization in hopes of making it easier for other players to get more involved.
When asked how he choses which causes to back, Boldin explained that "It has to be something with a similar heart as mine." This must mean that the organization must have a huge heart, because clearly that's how you would have to describe his.
Congratulations to Anquan for being named a finalist, and hopefully he can win the honor and bring in the extra grant money. It's a pleasure to have a player who such great work off the field.