INDIANAPOLIS – While things haven’t gone his way on the field, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard still remains a force on the sidelines.
That’s why he’s the Colts’ nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
The prestigious honor recognizes players from all 32 NFL teams, with one being selected as Walter Payton Man of the Year during Super Bowl weekend. The award recognizes players for outstanding community service and excellence on the field.
Leonard’s contributions include donations to his hometown, the launch of his Maniac Foundation to provide educational grants and his advocacy for “Kicking the Stigma,” the Colts’ mental health initiative.
“It’s an honor to be named the Colts’ 2022 nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award,” Leonard said. “Since entering the league in 2018, I have strived to use my platform to serve families in the Indianapolis community and my hometown of Lake View, South Carolina. This prestigious honor is a testament to the hard work of my family, friends, the Maniac Foundation and the Colts.”
This year, Leonard donated $38,484 to renovate Hilltop Park in his hometown of Lake View, South Carolina, and hosted a football camp for 200 kids. He organized a backpack giveaway that benefited around 380 students at Lake View Elementary to start the school year and donated $56,000 to improve the football field at Lake View High School. He also contributed $3,511 towards Coats for Kids and provided $3,500 in Thanksgiving turkeys for his hometown.
In 2020, Leonard and his wife, Kayla, launched the Maniac Foundation, which focuses on education, wellness programs, serving families in need and other charitable causes. In its first year, the foundation provided more than $100,000 in grants to the Lake View and Indianapolis communities. Their inaugural event raised more than $680,000 to support the foundation’s mission.
As an advocate for “Kicking the Stigma,” Leonard shared his own mental health experiences in videos, PSAs and roundtable discussions. He also launched a mental health hotline through the Maniac Foundation in which he provides a monthly motivational message as well as mental health resources.
All 32 NFL nominees receive up to a $40,000 donation for their chosen cause. The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winner will receive a $250,000 donation for their charity of choice; all donations are from the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.