Vernon Carey was named the Dolphins nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
The award -- won last year by Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, in 1998 by quarterback Dan Marino and in 1985 by center Dwight Stephenson -- honors the combination of excellence on the field and strong community service.
''It caught me off guard. I was kind of wordless,'' Carey said. ``It's like an overwhelming feeling of joy inside.''
Carey grew up during Marino's career and became a teammate of Taylor's when the Dolphins drafted Carey in 2004, completing a climb up the South Florida football ladder -- from Miami Northwestern High to the University of Miami, then to the Dolphins.
He also references his upcoming Free Agency at the end of the column, saying, ''I hope I'm still here'' after stating how he wants to continue with his community service.
I'm not sure if there's a way for us to vote on this, but if anybody finds it, please post, and we'll blow it up. Congrats to Vernon.