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ARLINGTON, Texas — Vikings S Madieu Williams was named the 2010 recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
Williams was presented the award prior to Super Bowl XLV. He currently is in the Persian Gulf watching the game with U.S. service members.
"It is a tremendous honor to win this award named after Walter Payton, one of the greatest men ever to play in the National Football League," Williams said, surrounded by troops in Iraq. "I'm sorry I couldn't be there to accept the award, but it's an even greater honor to be here with the 4th Infantry Division and Task Force Iron Horse."
The other finalists were the Raiders' Nnamdi Asomugha and the Bears' Israel Idonije.
Williams has started 38 of the 39 games in which he has played since signing with the Vikings before the 2008 season. He made a $2 million donation to create a Center for Global Health at the University of Maryland, where he attended college, and he works with several charities in Minnesota to help children in need.
The panel that chose the finalists is made up of the nominees from all 32 teams for the award, each of whom receives $1,000 from NFL Charities to give to the charity of their choosing. The finalists receive an additional $5,000 donation in their names.
The selection panel consists of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell; former commissioner Paul Tagliabue; Connie Payton, Walter's widow; Pro Football Hall of Famers Frank Gifford and Anthony Muñoz; executive director of the NFL Alumni Association George Martin; 2009 Payton winner and Chiefs OG Brian Waters; and Sports Illustrated's Peter King.