Bears TE Jimmy Graham nominated for 'Man of the Year' award

Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham is hoping two times is the charm.

For the second year in a row, he has been nominated for the "Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year" award.

This nomination has special significance for a Chicago gunshot survivor who has become friends with Graham.

FOX 32 told you about Bryan Epting earlier this year. The aspiring football player was caught in gang crossfire while riding in a car with his mom. He was paralyzed from the bullet.

Since then, he and Graham have become close. Bryan was told he'd never walk again, but during the Green Bay game, he walked into Soldier Field to the seats Graham had gifted him.

"It's inspired me a lot because I'm thinking about becoming a motivational speaker right now. I’ve been doing toast masters right now to practice with my public speaking so by him helping me, I want to be able to help others just like him," Epting said.

Bryan received medical devices free of charge from Devices 4 the Disabled, which is one of the organizations Graham has supported.

In addition, Graham's foundation has provided free flights and financial aid to hundreds of military veterans.

He's also provided Thanksgiving meals to homeless Chicago youth.

"We all have this platform, we all have this big voice that we've got to reach out. Especially once you get established in the NFL, you need to reach out and give out that helping hand. Always looking to give out equal opportunity everywhere and to help everyone else have those equal opportunities in life," Graham said.


Graham is one of 32 nominees for the award.

Each nominee gets $40,000 for their charity. The winner receives a $250,000 charitable donation.