Alumnus Chosen as Candidate for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Norfolk State University alumnus and current Detroit Lions defensive back Don Carey has been chosen as the Lions’ candidate for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
Each of the 32 NFL teams chooses one nominee each year to be considered for the award, which goes to an NFL player for his volunteer and charity work in addition to excellence on the field. The award is named after former Chicago Bears and Jackson State star running back Walter Payton.
According to the NFL release, Carey is a leader on the field and in the locker room for the Lions, but also volunteers his time to be a leader in the community. A 2009 NSU graduate, Carey joined the Lions in 2011 and has a combined total of 121 tackles in six years with the team. Since 2012, Carey has served as an Ambassador for Athletes for Charity through which he has helped to donate over 10,000 books to help promote literacy and academic excellence throughout Detroit schools. In 2014, Carey was instrumental in leveraging the support of his teammates and local corporations to develop a STEM Youth Literacy Program in Detroit Public Schools.
Carey visits a school nearly every off Tuesday throughout the year, often inviting teammates to volunteer their time to help read and distribute books to hundreds of students, build LEGOs or engage students in hands-on activities relating to science, technology, engineering and math. As a result of Carey's efforts, the program has been expanded to Tampa, where it is spearheaded by a few Buccaneers players. His motto is: "Our children are our future. Impact our children, impact our future."
In addition to volunteering his time to support various community youth football camps during the offseason, on June 4, 2016, Carey hosted a STEM & Youth Football Camp in Detroit to benefit nearly 300 Detroit youth. The event's mission was twofold: to engage students in STEM with hands-on activities and teach them football drills and skills. Nearly 20 Lions players volunteered for the event participating in both segments, serving as STEM mentors and football coaches for the day.
During the 2015 season, Carey was named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 10 for his commitment to youth literacy and education. Carey has also written a column featured in the Detroit Free Press and currently hosts the Lions GameDay Live show at 10 am on Fox 2 News where he interviews a teammate every week. He is also writing a book, entitled “It’s Not Because I’m Better Than You,” which is due out next year.
A devout believer, Carey devotes much of his time to studying scripture, knowing culture and teaching others how to apply the word to their daily lives. He is currently studying for his Masters in Theological Studies at the Moody Theological Seminar. He and his wife are also the Founders of the Don Carey International Ministries (DCIM), a Para-Church Organization geared towards preaching the Gospel. DCIM offers academic book scholarships to students and sponsors an annual bible giveaway to gift brand new study application bibles to its social media followers. During the offseason, Carey voluntarily travels across the country to speak at Boys & Girls Clubs, churches, schools and businesses.
The winner of this year’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will be announced on Feb. 4 in Houston at the annual NFL Honors ceremony the night before Super Bowl LI.
For the second consecutive year, Carey is also on the Pro Bowl ballot as a special teams player.
Carey starred for NSU from 2005-08, twice earning All-MEAC second-team honors before being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Carey spent one season with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2010) before joining the Lions.