The Miami Dolphins have nominated punter Brandon Fields for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. The Walter Payton Man of the Year award is given annually by the National Football League honoring a player's volunteer and charity work, as well as his excellence on the field and is awarded by a panel of judges, including Commissioner Roger Goodell, Connie Payton (Walter Payton's widow), the most recent award winner (Matt Birk from the Baltimore Ravens), and a group of former players.
The winner of the award receives a $25,000 donation in his name to the charity of his choice. All nominees receive a $1,000 donation to the charities of their choice.
Fields can be found every week during the season on his Tuesday off giving back to the local community. Often on his off day, he participates in numerous events, including speaking at a school, taking kids whose parents are in the military on a pirate ship or playing games with children with disabilities at Dave and Busters.
In 2012, Fields participated in more events than any other player on the team and his commitment can even be shown during the offseason when he worked with the team's Punt Pass and Kick finalist and gave her tips in punting at the Miami Dolphins Training Facility.
In addition to participating in team events, Fields created the Brandon and Katie Fields Youth Fitness Fund in 2010. With a focus on health, fitness and a positive attitude, the mission of the Brandon and Katie Fields Youth Fitness Fund is to promote physical activity and good health to children in the community. Some of their programs include an annual football and cheer camp in Toledo and a fitness camp. The purpose of the fitness camp is to encourage kids to do 60 minutes of activity a day, and teach them how to be active in various ways, outside of sports. The camp stations include a homemade obstacle, relay race with games, circuit training, yoga, and dancing. Recently, the Fields partnered with Broward Health to start the 'Fields Fitness Fest' in South Florida.
Fields has been one of the top punters in team and league history since joining the Dolphins in 2007. He ranks second in NFL history with a 46.3 punting average. He also ranks first in Dolphins history in both highest punting average and net punting average. Through the first fifteen games of 2012, Fields has 68 punts for 3,419 yards, good for an average of 50.3 yards per punt and a net of 41.2 yards per punt. Currently, Fields ranks first in the AFC and second in the NFL in punting average.
The award will be presented in February at the NFL's Honors Show. Dolphins players have previously won the award in 1985 (Dwight Stephenson), 1998 (Dan Marino), and 2007 (Jason Taylor). Fields would be the first punter to win the award, and the second kicker (San Diego Chargers placekicker Rolf Benirschke in 1983).
[Note: Parts of this story were used using the press release from the Miami Dolphins]