Benjamin Watson says he's humbled to be one of three finalists considered for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
The annual NFL players award recognizes one man for his charity work and excellence off the football field. Watson, the New Orleans Saints tight end, is in the running along with New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
"So humbled to be named a finalist for Walter Payton Man of the Year," 35-year-old Watson tweeted on Sunday. "Congrats to all the nominees. There are so many great men in our league."
A panel of judges consisting of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, former League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Walter Payton's widow, Connie Payton, and former players Anthony Munoz and LaDainian Tomlinson, along with last year's winner, Thomas Davis of the Carolina Panthers and sportswriter Peter King chose the finalists. The winner of the award will be announced at the NFL Honors on CBS Feb. 6.
A $55,000 donation will be made to the charity of the winner's choice, while the two runners-up will each receive $11,000 donations, according to ESPN.
Watson, the author of the book, Under Our Skin, which was released last year, previously spoke to The Christian Post about the great things his NFL teammates do, despite some of the flack the league's players receive.
"You've got a league with a couple thousand players or so depending on the time of year. Then you have 10 or more very high profile stories that are terrible stories and things that have happened," he told CP in June. "The majority of the guys are not in the news; they're doing great things in the community, they're doing great things at home, playing well and abiding by the rules. There's probably more than the general population, to be honest with you."
The tight end insisted that high profile examples of NFL players making mistakes are isolated events.
"It's unfortunate that so many of the guys who are doing right are painted with the broad brush by the guys who aren't. Then when you have these situations like Ray Rice's, they are things that are unfortunate and they're bad," the tight end explained to CP. "Most of the guys in the NFL would sit here and tell you we don't condone the abuse of a child, any sort of abuse of a woman, breaking rules, failing drug tests or doing any of those things. We hold ourselves to a very high standard."
Watson believes that many of the NFL players who made mistakes will admit their wrongdoing and be remorseful about their bad decisions. He noted, however, that they will also have to face the consequences of their actions.
"When things like this happen, you have to take the punishment, whatever it is," he said. "The NFL has had our fair share and that's why it's in the news, that's the sad part about it."