Rivers, Birk, Tillman are finalists for Walter Payton Award

Posted Jan. 22, 2012 @ 5:19 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

The NFL has announced the three finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, given to a player who excels both on the field and in their communities.

Chargers QB Philip Rivers, Ravens C Matt Birk and Bears CB Charles Tillman are the finalists for the award. The winner will be named on Feb. 4 in Indianapolis, site of Super Bowl XLVI. An eight-member committee, which includes 2010 winner Madieu Williams, will pick the winner.

Rivers made his fifth Pro Bowl this season after throwing for more than 4,500 yards. A father of six, the Chargers QB also works with The Rivers of Hope Foundation, which helps abandoned and orphaned children find new homes. He also runs football camps and creates awareness for foster children throughout San Diego County.

Birk, who is in his 14th NFL season, leads the Ravens' offensive line and has started 96 consecutive games. He does a lot of work to improve children's literacy. Birk's "Ready, Set, Read!" program, an initiative of his H.I.K.E. Foundation (hope, inspiration, knowledge and education), reaches close to 100,000 children in the Baltimore area and motivates students to read at home through an incentive-based system.

Tillman, one of the league's most physical corners, is headed to the Pro Bowl after an impressive 2011 season. He, along with his wife Jackie, head the Cornerstone Foundation, which focuses on improving the lives of critically and chronically ill children by providing support and life changing experiences.