INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 2, 2015) – Dwayne Allen’s comprehensive contributions to the Indianapolis Colts and the local community have been recognized.
The team’s veteran tight end has been selected as its nominee for the NFL’s 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. One player from each team is selected based on his off-the-field community service and on-field performance.
The winner will be announced Feb. 6 as part of the NFL’s Honors Awards Show prior to Super Bowl 50.
“It’s an honor, man,” Allen told NFL Network. “It’s one I am not deserving of. I’ve tried to live my life and show an example that is worthy for others to follow.
“I just want this world to be a better place. If it’s me volunteering with the USO or something I’m very passionate about, you know, inspiring and empowering the youth, man, I do it wholeheartedly just to serve those people.”
Allen’s outreach efforts in the community have included becoming the director of the Indianapolis-based DREAM Alive, Inc.; Baskets of Hope, School on Wheels, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Indiana Children’s Wish Fund.
Here’s a transcript of the team’s nomination for the national award:
Every year, the Colts rookie class is given t-shirts that read: Give. Serve. Lead. Since receiving that shirt as a rookie in 2012, Allen has embodied those words and has been relentless in his efforts to live them out. Growing up in a single parent household as one of seven children, Allen had no father figure. After getting into trouble as a teenager, the football coach at his high school gave the then-freshman Allen $10 to get a physical and try out for the team or use the money as he liked. He chose the former and credits that moment with changing the course of his life as he joined the football team and his head coach became the positive male role model that he needed.
Allen saw firsthand the impact that the game of football and the investment of time can make in someone’s life and has become one of the Colts most active players in the community. As a rookie in 2012, he participated in nearly all of the team’s Community Tuesday events, while also excelling on the field as he set a Colts rookie record for tight ends with 45 receptions and led all NFL rookie tight ends with 45 receptions for 521 yards.
In 2013, Allen became the Player Executive for DREAM Alive, Inc., an Indianapolis-based non-profit started by Colts Alumnus Tarik Glenn. Its mission is to equip urban youth to become leaders by providing them with mentoring relationships, character development and experiential learning. They reach nearly 800 youth each year with their programs. Allen supports DREAM Alive, Inc. with his time, talent and treasure. At each Colts home game, he hosts 20 youth, providing them with a pre-game field visit, tickets, bags and meal vouchers. He also mentors students one-on-one, participates in community events and has helped raise nearly $200,000 for DREAM Alive.
Allen was chosen to serve as an NFLPA Player Representative for the Colts in 2014. He also took part in the NFL’s national “NO MORE” PSA campaign. In addition, he was named the team’s Ed Block Courage Award winner because of his commitment to sportsmanship and courage. On the field, he started in all 13 of the games in which he participated in and scored eight touchdowns, which tied for the fourth-most in Colts history by a tight end in a single season.
This year, in addition to his work with DREAM Alive, Allen participated in a week-long military tour overseas and continues to support organizations both locally and in his hometown of Fayetteville, N.C., including, but not limited to: Baskets of Hope, School on Wheels, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Indiana Children’s Wish Fund. He also uses his weekly TV show to feature non-profits in Indianapolis and highlight their work.