Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali has been nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in pro football.
Hali, 31, is the club’s nominee for The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, the only league award that recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.
Each NFL team has a nominee, and three finalists will be announced next month. The winner will be introduced on Saturday, Jan. 31, during the fourth annual NFL Honors awards show, a two-hour primetime special to air nationally on the night before the Super Bowl.
Each of the 32 team nominees receive a $1,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to the charity of their choice. The three finalists will receive an additional $5,000 donation, and the winner will receive an additional $20,000 donation in his name.
Hali, a native of Liberia, partnered with Heart to Heart International in October to construct a 70-bed Ebola treatment unit in Africa for those inflicted with the disease. Hali donated $50,000, which will finance more than half of the project.
Hali also partnered with his mother, Rachel, on multiple occasions to get vital supplies, clothing and other necessities distributed in West Africa. Hali also has teamed with Kansas City’s Bishop Sullivan Center to purchase and serve meals. And he has been a benefactor to Teaneck High School, his alma mater in New Jersey, by donating shoes for the entire football program, financing the school’s freshman football team with a $15,000 gift and donating $40,000 to finish off its athletic hall of fame.
Hali, a three-time Pro Bowler, is following in a tradition of Chiefs contending for the Walter Payton Award. The Chiefs have five previous winners — quarterback Len Dawson, linebackers Willie Lanier and Derrick Thomas and guards Will Shields and Brian Waters — tied with Chicago for most in the NFL.