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Dalton Risner nominated for Walter Payton Man of Year award

Broncos' offensive lineman works tirelessly in community through foundation
Dalton Risner Walter Payton Man of Year.jpeg
Posted at 8:53 AM, Dec 06, 2022

ENGLEWOOD — Dalton Risner plays professional football. It is what he does, but not who he is.

His faith and work in the community define him. He became involved at Kansas State and accelerated his efforts with the Broncos, starting the RisnerUp Foundation. It's not uncommon to see Risner holding a free football clinic, helping players at Wiggins High School or volunteering at The Special Olympics.

So it should come as no surprise that on Tuesday, the Broncos selected Risner as their Walter Payton Man of The Year nominee, one of the league's most prestigious awards. It recognizes a player for outstanding leadership both on the field and in the community.

"It's heartwarming as heck," Risner told Denver7.

Risner has relentlessly used his platform to help since joining the Broncos four years ago, earning Community Rookie of the Year and Community Impact and Ambassador Awards. In 2022 alone, he has participated in roughly 50 community events.

"I love putting a smile on a child's face," Risner has said repeatedly at events I have attended over the years, including speaking to schools and running football camps.

The Broncos posted a video on Twitter showing the moment they surprised Risner with the nomination.

As provided by the Broncos, a look at Risner's impact:

Youth Development
Risner serves as an Athlete Ambassador for A Precious Child, a nonprofit that provides children in need with opportunities and resources to empower them to achieve their full potential. He hosts annual football and life skills camps for children, and spearheaded financial and in-kind support for families impacted by the Marshall Fire—the most destructive fire in Colorado history. Risner raised money for those impacted by the fires through a Fire Relief Auction, and later visited Monarch High School to meet with students and teachers impacted by the fire and present a donation of $5,000 from the auction proceeds, as well as a $5,000 donation to A Precious Child to further their work to support those impacted.

The offensive lineman also serves as an Honorary Board Member of Special Olympics Colorado, being a local and national spokesperson for the organization, in addition to being a Champion Ambassador. He has hosted multiple events geared towards creating a more inclusive sports community and world for athletes of all abilities.

Risner continues to support Camp Kymel, an organization he got involved with during his college years, that works to improve the health of children and adolescents with cancer through summer camp experiences. Risner serves on the Board of Directors, attends camp activities and organization-wide events, and hosts special experiences for campers, including a cleat design contest for My Cause My Cleats.

RisnerUp Foundation:
Risner founded his foundation, the RisnerUp Foundation, while playing football at Kansas State University, as a way to have a long-lasting impact in the communities in which he has lived and played. He has partnered with various nonprofit organizations as they work together to offer a helping hand, lift spirits, generate smiles and spread hope — which is the RisnerUp Foundation mission. This season, Risner hosted his Foundation’s inaugural fundraiser, bringing together teammates and community supporters to raise funds to further the nonprofit’s community work and celebrate the individuals and nonprofits it partners with to make a difference.

Team Outreach:
Risner plays an active role in the Denver Broncos' weekly community outreach opportunities, joining his teammates in giving back to Broncos Country. From supporting local youth and high school football teams, to participating in every single one of the team’s signature PLAY 60 programs and events, Risner continues to show up and give back to the community in which he lives and plays in.


As a nominee, Risner will wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the end of the season. All current players who have won the national award will wear a Man of the Year patch on their jerseys in perpetuity, including Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson.

Past Broncos nominees include: safety Justin Simmons (2019-21), outside linebacker Von Miller (2018), cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (2017), tight end Virgil Green (2016), safety David Bruton Jr. (2015), guard Ben Garland (2014), linebacker Wesley Woodyard (2010-11, '13), guard Zane Beadles (2012), cornerback Champ Bailey (2008-09), cornerback Domonique Foxworth (2007), wide receiver Rod Smith (2004, '06), safety John Lynch (2005), linebacker Ian Gold (2003) and wide receiver Ed McCaffrey (2002).