Colts select Darius Butler as Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee

Darius Butler (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Darius Butler’s latest recognition ranks among his most prestigious.

The veteran defensive back is the Indianapolis Colts’ nominee for the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Each team nominates a player who best exemplifies excellence on and off the field. Three finalists will be determined and the winner announced Feb. 3, the night before Super Bowl LII, in Minneapolis.

Quarterback Peyton Manning was selected Man of the Year in 2005 and John Unitas in 1970.

“It’s definitely an honor to be amongst the former greats that have been here like Peyton Manning, Antoine Bethea, Pat McAfee and David Thornton,’’ Butler said through a team release. “I’m just proud to be mentioned amongst that group.’’

Added coach Chuck Pagano: “Darius comes from a military family and has close relatives in law enforcement, so he personally understands the meaning of sacrifice and service to the community and country. Darius has gone above and beyond to make a difference in Indianapolis, as well as his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and we are proud to nominate him for this award.’’

Butler has been heavily involved in the local community since joining the Colts as a free agent in 2012.

His community involvement has included donating time and resources to Boys II Men, Inc.; the formation of the “Darius Butler Foundation,’’ which addresses hunger in underserved communities and motivates at-risk youth to achieve their dreams and excel in the classroom. Butler’s foundation consists of over nine programs and initiatives that focus on youth development and community engagement.

This past offseason, Butler traveled to Jamaica to serve at the RuJohn Foundation’s weeklong football camp. He helped teach fundamental football drills to hundreds of youngsters.

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