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St. Louis Rams: Chris Long and His “Waterboys" Up for Walter Payton "Man of the Year" Award

St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long has been nominated for the Walter Payton "NFL Man of the Year Award."

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

"In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision."

"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."

"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."

These quotes, all from Dalai Lama, encompass a person who’s willing to give and not get.  Someone who puts themselves before others -- a person who gets the "big picture" and wants to do good in life.  They have enough, and want others who may have less to have more...even if a little bit.

Luckily, the National Football League employs - and recognizes - several of these individuals.  Shortly after announcing the nominees for this year's Walter Payton "Man of the Year" award, commissioner Roger Goodell said, "The outstanding young men embrace and represent the important commitment of giving back to our communities. We salute and thank their players for their leadership.

Every year, the NFL awards the Walter Payton "Man of the Year" award to a player who excels not only on the football field, but also for the good they do off the field.  And for 2015, St. Louis Rams’ defensive end Chris Long - through has charity work - has more than earned his candidacy for the award.
Two years ago, Rams defensive end Chris Long took a trip to East Africa. Struck by the intense suffering caused by a lack of water in Tanzania, he formed a vision and went to work. His dream to bring healing and help surrounding this global epidemic came to fruition this spring with the founding of the Chris Long Foundation and the creation of its signature initiative, "Waterboys." Through the cause, Chris is uniting athletes from across the National Football League to raise money and awareness for clean water projects in East Africa. He partnered with WorldServe International - a nonprofit organization based in Missouri that is a leading provider of clean water wells in sub-Saharan Africa - to assist with the project. But as an NFL player and a competitor, Chris felt it was imperative to leverage that platform to help the cause. Chris has been recruiting players from around the league to serve as fundraising representatives for their respective team, with the goal of eventually creating 32 wells in East Africa for all 32 NFL teams.
Long - through his Waterboys Initiative - has recruited one member from each of the NFL’s 32 teams to represent their franchise as the official "waterboy."  Players include former Rams’ Sam Bradford, and Danny Amendola, as well as other NFL stars like his younger brother Kyle LongSeahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson, Cardinals’ defensive end Calais Campbell, Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali, Colts’ cornerback Vontae Davis, and many others.

And you can help too.  Every penny counts, and if you’ve got a few to spare, the Waterboy’s Initiative can use your help.  By donating for your favorite player, or waterboy, with the goal is to raise $45,000, you can help build a sustainable, deep borehole well which will provide water for 5,000 people in Sub-Sahara Africa.

You can see more here.  And you can hear it from Chris himself...

The Man of the Year award, which the NFL began handing out in 1970 has never been given to a Rams’ player.  But let’s face it, there are no losers as a result of charity performed by NFL players who choose to use their fame as a platform for good.  Chris Long needs OUR support, but not to earn an award for himself, but more so to aid the people in Africa who truly need OUR help.  Put simply, they need water.

I don’t know Chris Long.  I’ve seen him play football for several years, and I’ve met him briefly twice. I’ve interacted with him on Twitter, and I follow him on Instagram.  If there are things I think I  know about him, it’s that he loves the outdoors, he loves his friends and family, and cares about people...the real ones.

Chris Long isn’t simply the best Rams’ follow because he’s a great player, a funny guy, and one who opts to interact with fans after games and on social media.  He’s a role model.  He gives back.  More often than not, we - as fans - await the next negative headline in regards to an NFL player.  But not with Chris.  He’s consistently, and selflessly, working to better himself - and others - on and off the field.

The winner will be announced at the NFL Honors awards show on February 6, 2016.  Every nominee will receive a $5,000 donation to give to a charity of their choice.

Whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, do your part and spread the word by using the hashtag: #LONGWPMOYCHALLENGE. Use it as often as possible between now and December 31, 2015 and Chris earns a $20,000 donation from Nationwide to put towards the Waterboys Initiative.