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Help Chris Long Win the Walter Payton Charity Challenge

Posted Dec 2, 2015

The St. Louis Rams announced today that defensive end Chris Long has been named the team’s 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The St. Louis Rams announced today that defensive end Chris Long has been named the team’s 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee in recognition of his community involvement in the St. Louis region as well as his dedication to bring clean water to East Africa through his Waterboys initiative. Every year, each team nominates one player who represents the NFL’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact. Long, along with the 31 other nominees, is now eligible to win the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which is the only league award recognizing a player for his excellence on and off the field.
 
To further celebrate and promote the 32 nominees, Nationwide, the presenting sponsor of the award, will execute an inaugural Charity Challenge. Team nominees will each have a unique hashtag, and the player that generates the most mentions will win a $20,000 donation to their charity of choice, courtesy of Nationwide. The Challenge runs from Dec. 2 - Dec. 31, 2015.
 
Fans can support Long by using #LongWPMOYChallenge on social media.

Through Waterboys, the cornerstone initiative of The Chris Long Foundation, Long is teaming up with NFL players and fans to raise money and awareness for clean water projects in partnership with WorldServe International – a leading provider of clean water wells in sub-Saharan Africa. Dozens of players have joined Long in his quest to bring healing to these suffering communities as fundraising representatives for their respective team, and to ultimately help Long build 32 wells in East Africa, one for every NFL club.
 
“As athletes, we have a tremendous opportunity to use our platforms to make an immediate, surefire difference,” Long said. “With football as its foundation, the Waterboys Initiative will help change the lives of millions of people in desperate need.”
 
In St. Louis, Long has spent significant time and resources to help St. Patrick Center, a St. Louis non-profit that assists homeless individuals with housing, employment and health programs. Earlier this year, Long joined fellow defensive lineman William Hayes to take their support of St. Patrick Center a step further when the two disguised themselves and went undercover for 24 hours on the streets of St. Louis as homeless men. Their goal was to bring awareness to the contributing factors of homelessness and to charities like the St. Patrick Center, who serve the homeless.
 
Additionally, for the fourth consecutive year, Long served as the honorary chair for Holiday Mail for Heroes, a partnership between the Rams and the American Red Cross to provide holiday cards for veterans and active military members stationed both domestically and abroad. Long has also continued his support of #StartsWithUs, an effort that he helped launch last year to raise awareness about cyber bullying and to encourage students to instead spread kindness through social media.
 
Since Long became a Ram, he has taken part in many Rams community outreach events including military appreciation efforts, the United Way Kickoff for Charity Luncheon, Make-A-Wish Night of Wishes, Taste of the NFL, Urban League Thanksgiving Project and Coach Fisher’s Celebrity Softball Game benefitting charity.  Long also purchases tickets to every home game and donates them to various charities.  He has also partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri.
 
“Chris is an incredible example of what’s possible when players fully leverage their platforms as professional athletes to impact our world,” said Molly Higgins, Rams vice president of civic affairs. “He’s always been one of our community leaders and what he’s doing with Waterboys – by tapping into his NFL network and recruiting players from other teams to join him – illustrates his extraordinary global vision and unique passion that can truly be a game changer. We can’t imagine a better representative of all that is right in sports.”
 
The NFL will name three finalists in January before announcing the overall winner during the 5th Annual NFL Honors Awards Show on Feb. 6, the night before Super Bowl 50, from 8-10 p.m. CT on CBS.
 
Each of the 32 team nominees will receive a $5,000 donation to the charity of their choice. The two runner-ups will receive an additional $6,000 donation, and the winner will receive an additional $50,000 donation in his name. Donations will be courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
 
ABOUT WATERBOYS AND THE CHRIS LONG FOUNDATION:
Inspired during a 2013 climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro, St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long formed Waterboys to utilize the National Football League’s platform to impact the world with the vision of providing clean water to communities that desperately need it. The initiative is supported by The Chris Long Foundation, which is committed to giving back to the community through focused efforts around clean water, military appreciation, homelessness and youth in need. To learn more about Waterboys, visit www.waterboys.org.