The guy who never played football until high school, and only then after the coach gave him $10 for a physical, tight end Dwayne Allen has made a name for himself in the NFL. Known by his teammates as a selfless player, Allen is equally known in the community as a tireless servant.
And now, he's being honored for both.
"All the characteristics that we're looking for in a football player and a man and teammate, he's got them all and then some," said Coach Chuck Pagano. "Great leadership on the field, great leadership off the field, great leadership in the locker room, but more importantly, what this guy gives back to the community, all the time that he spends serving others."
It all adds up to what Coach Pagano calls "the epitome of a Colt."
Allen sees it like he sees most things, as a call to do more.
"When I was in college and I won the John Mackey Award, I did some history on John Mackey and learned more about the man that he was and how he served as a player advocate as the president of the PA (players association) and it was something that I feel like I was obligated in accepting the trophy named after him to do also, to serve others. That's why I've been involved in the PA and that's part of the reason I serve so much in the community."
And to be nominated to receive an award named after the late, great Walter Payton?
"It's an amazing honor. Any time you have an award that's named after a player and a man that is so great and one that did numerous things off the field, and post career, I feel like again, you're obligated in some sense to live up and to serve in a way that honors that award," he said.
The Colts named TE-Dwayne Allen the team's Man of the Year! Allen is one of 32 nominees for the National Award.
But about that award, he'd like to propose a change.
"To receive such an award that is named 'Man of the Year,' I really, really wish they would substitute 'man' for 'servant' of the year because that's all I am.
A servant to his team, his community, and his world.
"That's the only thing that I've tried to do, is show people that I'm either foolish or crazy or just plain hopeful enough to believe that through my example of servanthood, others will choose to serve also and we can make this world a better place."
And that's what Dwayne Allen is doing – on the field and off. One play at a time, one kid at a time, he's out to make life better for those around him. And in the process, he's made a pretty good life for himself.
Each team nominates a player for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, which is given out annually. The winner will be announced during the NFL Honors awards show, which airs the night before Super Bowl 50 on CBS.