EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings veteran linebacker Chad Greenway has been selected as the winner of the 2015 Byron "Whizzer" White Award, the NFL Players Association announced Wednesday.
The award is the most prestigious offered annually by the NFLPA and will include a whopping donation of $100,000 for Greenway to direct toward his charitable endeavors.
"That's really the best part of this award, is that a lot of people are going to be able to benefit from that and we're thinking a lot of kids," Greenway said. "We have a bunch of ideas out there, thinking about different schools, different things in my wife's and my past that have helped us along the way.
"The Minneapolis Parks & Rec (Department) has been such a great place for us to kind of stick some money sometimes and give so many different scholarships and opportunities to kids that maybe wouldn't have it, so that's another place we're looking."
In addition to children in Minnesota, parts of the award money might also be used to impact children in other states across the Upper Midwest.
The South Dakota native who played collegiately at Iowa has kept strong ties to his roots over the course of his nine previous pro seasons. Greenway started his "Lead The Way" Foundation in 2008 and has raised more than $1.3 million to provide seriously ill and physically challenged children better access to technological entertainment and education devices in hospitals and with unique experiences. He has also participated annually in the Gridiron Gallop 5k to benefit Minneapolis Parks & Rec since he was selected in the first round in 2006.
"Our Gallop, predominantly all those funs go to the Minneapolis Parks & Rec, and they do such a good job of helping us with that event," Greenway said. "They're very selfless people, obviously with having that job you have to be, giving back to kids in different ways. It's been a great relationship for us and something we want to keep growing."
Players on all 32 clubs nominated a teammate who goes "above and beyond to perform community service" where they play and in their respective hometowns. Each nominee received $5,000 for charity.
A panel of judges, Charlie Batch, Mike Kenn and Kevin Mawae, narrowed the field from 32 to five. In addition to Greenway, Dustin Colquitt (Chiefs), Malcolm Jenkins (Eagles), Jameel McClain (Giants) and Charles Tillman (Bears) are this year's finalists.
"You don't get into the business of giving back to the community and having a foundation and running that for awards, but it is really nice to be recognized, especially by your peers with the NFLPA," Greenway said.
He joins Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter as the second Vikings player to win the award, which was established in 1967.
The NFLPA presents the award out of gratitude to former Pittsburgh Pirates (now Steelers) and Lions halfback Byron Raymond "Whizzer" White, who later became a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. White is respected for his roles as a "scholar, athlete, patriot, humanitarian and public servant."
Previous Byron R. "Whizzer" White Award Winners
2014 Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers
2013 Charlie Batch, Pittsburgh Steelers
2012 Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
2011 Tony Richardson, New York Jets
2010 Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland Raiders
2009 Brian Dawkins, Philadelphia Eagles
2008 Warrick Dunn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Atlanta Falcons
2007 John Lynch, Denver Broncos
2006 Steve McNair, Tennessee Titans
2005 Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
2004 Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2003 Troy Vincent, Philadelphia Eagles
2002 Mark Brunell, Jacksonville Jaguars
2001 Michael McCrary, Baltimore Ravens
2000 Doug Pelfrey, Cincinnati Bengals
1999 Cris Carter, Minnesota Vikings
1998 Hardy Nickerson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1997 Chris Zorich, Chicago Bears
1996 Bill Brooks, Buffalo Bills
1995 Derrick Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs
1994 Mark Kelso, Buffalo Bills
1993 Nick Lowery, Kansas City Chiefs
1992 Reggie White, Green Bay Packers
1991 Mike Kenn, Atlanta Falcons
1990 Ozzie Newsome, Cleveland Browns
1989 Mike Singletary, Chicago Bears
1988 Deron Cherry, Kansas City Chiefs
1987 George Martin, New York Giants
1986 Nat Moore, Miami Dolphins
1985 Reggie Williams, Cincinnati Bengals
1984 Rolf Benirschke, San Diego Chargers
1983 Doug Dieken, Cleveland Browns
1982 Franco Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
1981 Ken Houston, Washington Redskins
1980 Gene Upshaw, Los Angeles Raiders
1979 Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys
1978 Archie Manning, New Orleans Saints
1977 Lyle Alzado, Denver Broncos
1976 Jim Hart, St. Louis Cardinals
1975 Rocky Bleier, Pittsburgh Steelers
1974 Floyd Little, Denver Broncos
1973 Andy Russell, Pittsburgh Steelers
1972 Ray May, Baltimore Colts
1971 Kermit Alexander, Los Angeles Rams
1970 Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears
1969 Ed Meador, Los Angeles Rams
1968 Willie Davis, Green Bay Packers
1967 Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers