Buffalo Bills punter Brian Moorman was presented with the prestigious Buffalo Bills/NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award at the Monday Quarterback Club's (MQC) annual Player Awards luncheon held at the Millenium Hotel in Cheektowaga.
The award was given to Moorman for a combination of his excellent play on-the-field and his off-the-field contributions to the community.
Moorman, a two-time Pro Bowler, averaged 44.1 yards a punt, had 23 punts land inside the 20 yard line and is considered one of the best punters in the NFL. A team captain as chosen by his teammates, Moorman is also a dedicated leader in the community.
He makes himself available to support the many organizations and agencies involved with the team but on his own he goes above and beyond to help children – especially children facing cancer.
In 2003, along with his wife Amber, he established the Brian Moorman PUNT (Perseverance, Understanding, N'Couragement, Triumph) Foundation to support pediatric cancer research, treatment and social programs. A majority of his work is affiliated with Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Carly's Club, the hospital's family-centered support group for its patients.
In addition to lending his name and talents, he is very hands-on with his support. Brian and his wife Amber visit Roswell Park Cancer Institute every Tuesday to spend time with the children and their families. In 2004, Carly's Club and Roswell honored Brian with their annual Hero Award.
In 2005, he was selected from across the league to receive the annual Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian of the Year award from Pro Football Weekly. He has also been named to the Sporting News "Good Guys" in sports and was the Bills NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year selection in 2003.
Since 2006, Brian has partnered with several local companies to purchase a luxury suite that is used by "Moorman's Miracles" - Carly's Club children and their families at each home game. Every week Brian personally autographs t-shirts to be handed out to the children in the suite. After each punt he gives a wave up to his guests in the suite to let them know he is thinking of them.
On October 20, 2008 Brian hosted the third annual Celebrity Wine Tasting fundraiser for the PUNT Foundation. This popular and successful event helps raise awareness and funds to support many of the PUNT Foundation programs.
Moorman and fellow special teamers: K Rian Lindell, LS Ryan Neill and Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Bobby April participated in the Pittsford Triathlon on June 1, 2008. The fifth annual triathlon also served as a fundraiser for Moorman's PUNT Foundation.
Brian is also the spokesperson for the Dunlop Kicking for a Cure program in which a donation is made every time Brian puts a punt inside the 20 yard line.
Though Brian is involved with many community and charitable functions, the PUNT Foundation is a main focus of Moorman's life.
Brian is committed to making a difference in the lives of sick children and their families and he received a standing ovation from the sold-out luncheon crowd when he was introduced as the winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
"It is really an honor to be recognized but my wife and I don't do these things to be recognized," said a humble Moorman. "We do this for the families and the kids. Just to meet kids and help them take their mind off things."
Moorman continued, "Just last week we met a young girl and her family found out that she was sick right before Christmas. I'm not trying to get the mood down, but this is why we do what we do. Kids like her inspire us every week."
Moorman noted that receiving the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award was special because he grew up watching Payton play. "Thank you to Walter Payton," said Moorman. "I grew up watching him play and appreciated how he handled himself on the field and off."
Moorman encouraged everyone to help in whatever way they can and offered his website as a tool for finding a way to get involved. The newest fundraising opportunity for the PUNT Foundation is a new online store where apparel can be purchased and all funds support families in Western New York affected by pediatric cancer.
More information on the PUNT Foundation and the online store can be found by visiting www.brianmoorman.org.