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'Love you, Mama:' Dak Prescott honors his 'why' in Walter Payton Man of the Year speech

The Cowboys quarterback was nominated as the team's representative for his work to broaden the mission of his Faith Fight Finish (FFF) Foundation.

DALLAS — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has won the 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year award. 

Prescott was announced as the award recipient during the NFL Honors ceremony on Thursday night. 

The Cowboys quarterback was nominated as the team's representative for his work to broaden the mission of his Faith Fight Finish (FFF) Foundation, which now focuses on four main initiatives: colon cancer research, mental health and suicide prevention, bridging the gap between law enforcement the communities they serve, and offering assistance to those facing life-challenging hardships. For more information about the FFF Foundation and its events and initiatives, click here.

In his acceptance speech Thursday night, Prescott paid tribute to his mother, Peggy, who died of cancer in 2013.

"My mother was, and still is, my moral compass," Prescott said. "Through my own charitable contributions, I seek to share her strength and courage with the world. She was one of a kind."

"My mother told me when she was diagnosed with cancer that, 'All greats have a story. Allow me to be your story.' She is my 'why.' And with these words, just as she does and always did, my mother inspired me and motivated me to be great beyond the circumstances. And it was in her honor I started my foundation in 2017 and named it the 'Faith, fight, finish' - the three words she left me and my brothers."

Prescott also honored his late brother, Jace, who died by suicide in 2020. Prescott said his work with his foundation, vowing his brother's death would be "one life taken to save millions."

Prescott ended his speech by pointing to the sky: "Love you, Mama."

Credit: AP
Walter Payton Player of the Year Award winner, Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott, gestures during the NFL Honors award show ahead of the Super Bowl 57 football game, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Watch Prescott's full acceptance speech here:

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones released a statement on Prescott's award:

"The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious awards a player can earn in all of professional sports, and there is no one more deserving than Dak Prescott. From the very first day, Dak has displayed the heart and soul that reflect and define this award. He is a star on the field, but more importantly, he is a character-driven role model off the field. As an organization, we could not be more proud of the man that Dak is and the special impact and spirit he conveys to others. This is a special recognition, not only for Dak, but for the countless individuals whose life he has impacted."

Started in 1970, The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field. The award was renamed after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back, Walter Payton in 1999.

The winner of the award each year receives a $250,000 donated to the winner's charity of choice. All of the other 31 nominees receive up to $40,000 donated to their charity of choice. 

Prescott joins the following Dallas Cowboys who have also won the award: 

  • Roger Staubach, 1978
  • Troy Aikman, 1997
  • Jason Witten, 2012

For more information about the The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, click here.

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