Madieu Williams has been a community-conscious individual for much of his life, a fact that was apparent during his free agent visit to Minnesota back in 2008. During that visit, Williams insisted that he take time away from the itinerary of fancy meals, luxurious hotels and limo rides to visit a local hospital.
It should be no surprise, then, that Williams has been named as one of three finalists for this year Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. It was announced on Sunday that Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha and Bears DE Israel Idonije join Williams as finalists for the award named for the legendary Chicago Bears running back who died in 1999.
The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award is the only league award that recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.
The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will be announced live on FOX before Super Bowl XLV on February 6. Williams will be in the Persian Gulf, having made an earlier commitment to visit with U.S. service members during Super Bowl week, re-enforcing his commitment to the community. Asomugha and Idonije will be in North Texas during Super Bowl week and participate in a press conference on Friday, February 4, with the late Walter Payton’s family.
More on Williams’ Community Initiatives from NFL.com
Williams’ charitable works have achieved local, national and global impact. Locally, he works with the North Community YMCA, United Way and Harvest Prep/Seed Academy and provides season tickets for the kids in his “Dieu’s Crew” program. Williams also hosted a free football camp in Maryland, where he was raised, this past summer, and continues to support the Cincinnati area after a stint playing for the Bengals. Globally, Williams made a $2 million donation to create the Madieu Williams Center for Global Health at the University of Maryland, where he attended college. The center will address public health issues in Prince George’s County and Sierra Leone, where Williams was born. He has already built a primary school in the African nation and is now building a secondary school there as well. His foundation sponsored a mission to Sierra Leone that brought American teachers, surgeons and dentists to help educate the teachers at his school, give free dental cleanings to all of the students and provide free surgeries. Williams came to the Vikings as a free agent in 2008 and has been a stalwart in the defensive backfield. He has started 38 of his 39 games and notched a career-best 96 tackles in 2010. Williams is a leader on the Vikings defense that has ranked in the NFL’s top 10 each of his three seasons with the club. Williams led the Vikings DBs in tackles in 2009 when the team advanced to the NFC Championship game.
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