Harrison Phillips has been selected as the Bills nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the NFL announced Thursday.
The award, named for the late Hall of Fame running back of the Chicago Bears, recognizes players for their commitment to philanthropy and community impact. Nominees are selected from each of the NFL's 32 teams, all of whom receive up to $40,000 toward a charity of their choice.
The winning player receives $250,000 toward their selected charity.
"I have always been a firm believer in paying it forward," Phillips said. "I was blessed with a fantastic village of people who poured into me as I grew up and helped me get to where I am today. I am passionate about playing a positive role in being a part of others' villages - to help better their lives and in turn, making our communities a greater place to live."
Phillips was active in his responses to the many challenges of 2020. Early on during the COVID-19 pandemic, he donated $10,000 worth of meals to healthcare workers. He worked with the healthcare system in his hometown Omaha, Nebraska to produce videos encouraging the use of personal protective equipment and stayed connected with pediatric patients via virtual hospital visits.
The defensive tackle also continued to affect positive change through his Playmakers Organization, which supports children with intellectual disabilities. Phillips encouraged the athletes in the program to follow his lead with acts of kindness and called for them to share photos displaying healthy habits
When the country reckoned with cries for social justice, Phillips was one of the Bills players who spearheaded the organization's partnership with Buffalo Public Schools that resulted in a $500,000 donation from he and his teammates' Week 1 game checks to provide wi-fi to BPS students.
Phillip was among the players who recorded voice messages that were delivered to thousands of families in the Buffalo Public School system encouraging census participation and was part of the Bills' virtual Inspire Change Grant announcement that awarded $270,000 to local organizations.
Phillips was previously recognized as the Bills' nominee for the 2020 Salute to Service Award, which recognizes members of the NFL community for their support of U.S. service members, veterans, and their families. Inspired by the service of his grandfathers, Phillips has visited the local V.A. hospital in Buffalo and has partnered with Western New York Heroes.
Phillips' long list of charitable endeavors also includes hosting a kickball game for youth athletes with intellectual disabilities, visiting group of teen girls with cancer for the Kaely's Kindess "Galantines Day Party," renting out the Transit Drive-In for over 100 kids through his Playmakers Organization, and serving as the Keynote Speaker at the 2020 Special Olympics New York Winter Games.
The Buffalo Bills are proud to nominate DT Harrison Phillips for the 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his continued impactful work in the communities he serves.