Bears nominate Jimmy Graham for Walter Payton Award

After signing with the Bears in March, Graham researched charities and decided to make a six-figure donation to Ignite, which helps at-risk youth in Chicago.

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Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers

Jimmy Graham catches a pass against the Packers last month.

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Tight end Jimmy Graham was named the Bears’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which is given each year to the NFL player who embodies the intersection of philanthropy and on-field excellence.

After signing with the Bears in March, Graham researched charities and decided to make a six-figure donation to Ignite, which helps at-risk youth in Chicago. Graham, who is a pilot, arranges helicopter and airplane rides for at-risk kids and military veterans through his own Jimmy Graham Foundation.

The award, which is named after the former Bears great, is given out the night before the Super Bowl at NFL Honors.

Graham is in the first year of a two-year, $16 million deal, though the Bears could cut him this offseason after paying him $9 million total. He has 38 catches for 334 yards and five touchdowns this season, though has been held without a catch in two of the last three games as rookie Cole Kmet has emerged as the Bears’ preferred every-down tight end.

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