Kentucky football: Could former Cat Corey Peters be named NFL’s Man of the Year

Corey Peters of the Arizona Cardinals. Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Corey Peters of the Arizona Cardinals. Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

For the second time, former Kentucky Wildcat Corey Peters has been nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

A Super Bowl ring is pretty elusive for most but former Kentucky football standout and Louisville native Corey Peters now has the distinction for the second time of being nominated for one of the NFL’s most prestigious honors.

Peters was chosen as the Arizona Cardinals’ representative for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award presented yearly to a player in recognition of his outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on it.

He derives great joy in the work that he does to improve the lives of children reflected from a statement from the Cardinals.

"“The biggest thing for me is seeing kids grow through some of our programming and them coming up to me in the community sometimes and talk about things they have learned or things they have improved upon. That always makes me feel fulfilled.”"

In high school, he was a four-year letterman and three-year starter on the defensive line for Central High School in Louisville. In his senior year, he had 91 total tackles, 15 quarterback sacks, three interceptions, five fumbles caused, three fumble recoveries, and seven pass breakups. He was also a four-year letterman in wrestling advancing to the state tournament every year.

Peters played at UK from 2006-09 finishing with 152 tackles (87 solo and 65 assists) including 27 for losses and 11.5 sacks. He was second-team All-SEC his senior season.

His played help turn around a struggling Wildcat program and marked the resurgence under coach Rich Brooks going 8-5, 8-5, 7-6, and 7-6. The Wildcats won two Music City Bowls and one Liberty Bowl before falling to Clemson in the Music City his senior year which was also Brooks’ last season.

Peters was selected with the 83rd pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 2010 draft.

Each year every NFL team gets to nominate one player for the distinguished honor. His first nomination was by the Falcons in 2011.

Peters has been a team captain for the Cardinals over the last season but suffered a season-ending knee injury in November which he has an unfortunate history of. He is in his final year with the Cardinals.

Last year he was also inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It started simply for Peters wanting to do the little things that helped others.

At UK he participated in service events at Johnson Elementary School and then as a bellringer for the Salvation Army in 2006.  He appeared as a guest during the Dance Blue Marathon and took part in Valentine’s Day party at the UK Children’s Hospital (2008).

DanceBlue is one of the largest and fastest growing philanthropies at the University of Kentucky.

His passion is clearly helping children in need of encouragement as well as food and basic supplies. He is an ambassador for Feed the Children who works to end childhood hunger and started a bi-weekly book club that he reads with students.

He partnered with Harvest Compassion Center, Peters and his PEEP foundation donated Thanksgiving turkeys to families as well as distributed care packages earlier this year containing toiletries, hygiene products, clothes, school supplies, and food items to 150 families in need.

A simple thank you letter he received from a school nearly brought the 300-pound lineman to tears and it will you as well.  Make sure you take a moment to watch.

Earlier this year, during the week of Super Bowl LIV in Miami, Peters helped deliver backpacks and school supplies to an elementary school in Miami.

Peters also started the Corey Peters “Lineman Challenge” and hosts specialized skills camps for high school level offensive and defensive linemen.

The NFL will gift Peters $40,000 to give to the charity of his choice for the nomination. The national winner will be announced the week of Super Bowl LV at the NFL Honors ceremony and receive a $250,000 donation to a charity of their choice.

Big Blue fans you can help Peters by voting for him on social media.

The NFL announced that fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge followed by their favorite nominee’s last name. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between Dec. 10 and Jan. 17 will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, while the second and third-place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations.