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Lorenzo Alexander named Redskins' Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year

December 30, 2010 - 02:09 PM
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Lorenzo Alexander has been named the Redskins' Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner. (Photo: Associated Press)

Washington Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander has been selected as his team’s winner of the 2010 Walter Payton Man of the year award.

The Man of the Year honor recognizes players for off-field community service as well as excellence on the playing field. A representative from all 32 teams wins the award and receives a $1,000 donation to their individual charity. Three finalists will receive an additional $5,000 and be invited to the Super Bowl where the winner will be announced before the game and will receive a $25,000 donation to the organization of his choice.

Alexander is the second straight Redskins linebacker to win the award. London Fletcher won the award last season.

Alexander, who is having a career season with 53 tackles and 1.5 sacks, is active in the community, working with the Lorenzo Alexander A.C.E.S (Accountability, Community, Education, Sports) foundation, which he started in 2008.

Through his foundation, Alexander tutors young people and runs college prep and life skills. Alexander is also active in his native Oakland area and since starting his foundation, has donated more than $62,000 to help reach young people in both the D.C. and Oakland areas.

“I’m really excited and humbled to receive this award,” Alexander said today. “God has blessed me beyond what I deserve and to be able to help my community, the fans of Washington, D.C., and in Oakland. I’m just blessed to be able to do it. … This is my home. I plan on staying here after I’m done playing, hope to carry on and be active in the community and carry on a Darrel Green type legacy as far as helping the community.

“Walter Payton is one of the best running backs in history, even a better man, London Fletcher, to be mentioned in the same breath as these men is humbling,” Alexander continued. “I never thought I would’ve made it here, especially you knowing my story.”

Alexander has one of the more inspiring stories on the Redskins’ team. His teammates call “One Man Gang” because he started out in Washington as a practice squad player that split time between offensive and defensive lines, tight end and fullback, worked his way up to play on special teams and in one game lined up on both sides of the ball. After making the move from defensive tackle to defensive end last season, Alexander switched to outside linebacker this year. He starts at left outside linebacker and also plays on the kickoff, kick off return, punt, punt return and field goal protection units.

“My whole career kind of embodies this,” Alexander said of the award. “Rags to riches type story and to be able to still remember who I am. … Just growing up in Oakland, a lot like inner city D.C., single family. But I had people to take the time out to help me, mainly my uncle Steve, who has his own family,” Alexander said. “He took time to be that father figure in my life and teach me how to be a man. I’d be crazy if I didn’t take that same responsibility since I have so much and give back to my community.”

Said Alexander's fellow team captain and predecessor as Redskins Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winner, "I think Zo's heart and desire to help others is great. I know the things he does in the community here and Oakland is very important to him, so it's great that they recognized him as Walter Payton Man of the Year. ... It's been great and enjoyable to see."

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