Fitzgerald, Thomas, Witten named finalists for Walter Payton Man of the Year award

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Among the various awards to be distributed the night before the Super Bowl will be the one that combines on-field performance with off-field service.

This year, the finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award are Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Browns left tackle Joe Thomas, and Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.

The award, renamed for Hall of Famer Walter Payton in 1999, was first given in 1970, to John Unitas.  Payton won the award in 1977.  Last year’s winner was Ravens center Matt Birk.