Last night at the "NFL Honors" event, Commissioner Goodell stated that the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award was the most meaningful award the League presents due to who, and what it, represents. Last night the Award was presented to another great player who means so much both on and off the field.
Anquan Boldin, the NFL veteran and three-time Pro Bowl selection, became the first 49ers player to win the prestigious award because of all of his off the field work.
"When I first got into the NFL nobody could tell me anything. I was living life," Boldin said. "I had achieved my dream of one day making it into the NFL, but I soon realized that's not what life is all about. I realized my purpose in life was not to make it to the NFL and score touchdowns. God put me on this earth for something much bigger than that and I realized and understand what my purpose is now. ... It's my prayer and my hope that I can live out the rest of my life honoring God and help as many people as possible."
Boldin established the Anquan Boldin(Q81) Foundation in 2004. Its mission is to expand the educational and life opportunities of underprivileged children. In 2014, he and his wife Dionne announced a $1 million pledge to escalate the impact of the Foundation.
The Foundation offers numerous programs, including a summer enrichment program and Thanksgiving food drives, Last fall, the Foundation awarded $10,000 academic scholarships to five students entering college. Since the Foundation's inception, it has awarded 13 four-year scholarships through the "Q81" Foundation Scholarship Fund.
"I know I'm here receiving this award, but there should be a line of people standing alongside of me because my Foundation doesn't work without them," Boldin said.
"Anquan Boldin's passionate dedication to community service and philanthropic causes demonstrate the high standards of character and conduct that we all strive for in the NFL," commissioner Roger Goodell said in the release. "Anquan stands out among his peers and is well-deserving of this award, but he is part of the overwhelming majority of NFL players who live out the NFL tradition of community service and inspire us all. We are extremely proud of Anquan and grateful for the way he represents the NFL."
Congrats to Anquan and his entire team!