WATCH: Eagles' Chris Long named Walter Payton Man of the Year award for literacy efforts

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Monday, February 4, 2019
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Chris Long tackling water issues across the globe. Annie McCormick reports during Action News at 10 p.m. on PHL17 on November 7, 2017.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year on Saturday for his activities off the field.

Long donated the entire amount of his first four game checks to fund his "First Quarter for Literacy" program, which gives free books and mentoring services to families.

Long, the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long, also said he would match donations up to$25,000 from any opponent who wanted to donate.

He also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with other NFL players and some U.S. military veterans to raise money to build clean water wells in East Africa.

A year ago, Long donated his entire salary to support education in cities where he has played: St. Louis, Boston and Philadelphia.

In addition to the award, the NFL will donate $250,000 to the The Chris Long Foundation, which includes programs focusing on clean water, military appreciation, homelessness and youth.

"Yeah, it's a tremendous honor," Long said. "[But] it's not why we do the work we do off the field. I think the other 31 nominees are remarkable men. I had the privilege of hanging out with them all week and a lot of them already know I learned [about] a lot of their causes and I'm excited to see if there's synergy as a brotherhood in different causes that we are involved in.

"I don't know, I'm very humbled. It's hard to feel deserving with those guys on stage and, obviously, this guy right here on the statue. It's a very heavy statue and it makes sense because his legacy is immense. I'm just honored."


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