Former North Texas and current Kansas City Chief standout Brian Waters was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year by commissioner Roger Goodell during Sunday's Super Bowl festivities. Waters was a finalist for the award for the second time in the last three years and earned the honor over Washington linebacker London Fletcher and Cleveland wide receiver Mike Furrey.
"I am so appreciative of my wife, family, the National Football League, the Kansas City Chiefs and my teammates for their support. Most of all I am thankful to the many organizations and families that partner with the 54 Foundation. Their generosity and kindness have been a blessing to us. It is an honor to be considered for, and to win this illustrious award. I hope that I can be an encouragement to others to get involved and impact their own communities."
Waters was a four-year letterman for the Mean Green from 1995-98, earning first team all-conference honors as a defensive tackle as a senior. After being cut as a rookie free agent with Dallas in 1999, Waters signed as a free agent with Kansas City in 2000 where he made the move to offensive line. He became a regular starter in 2002 and is now the most experienced active player for the Chiefs organization. He has played in four Pro Bowls and been named first team All-Pro by the Associated Press twice.
Originally from Waxahachie, Waters created the 54 Foundation which has helped children and families in the greater Kansas City area as well as in North Texas. To date, his foundation has awarded 82 college scholarships to low-income students. Local children have benefited from his back-to-school program that provides backpacks full of school supplies, as well as haircuts, uniforms, shoes, immunizations and dental care. Waters also works with Special Olympics, sponsors an after-school program at a local YMCA, chairs the Chiefs Thanksgiving food drive and works with Habitat for Humanity.
As the winner of the award, Waters will receive the Gladiator statue, an original art creation by noted sculptor Daniel Schwartz. In addition, the Waters' favorite charity will receive an additional $25,000 donation in his name.