New England Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy was recognized Thursday for his off-the-field contributions, receiving his team’s nomination for the 2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

The award recognizes one player each season who displays “outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field.” Van Noy and his wife, Marissa, host numerous charitable events through their Van Noy Valor Foundation, which benefits adopted and foster children.

“It is a great honor to be nominated for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award,” Van Noy said in a team statement. “Our foundation was put together so that we can share our stories and promote foster care and adoption and show how beautiful it is. It is meaningful because I have lived it, it is a part me and it is a part of my wife and her family. We understand the process, and we’ve seen the positive outcomes of the situation we are in. We like to share our message, and hopefully it inspires other families.”

In the same statement, Patriots owner Robert Kraft called Van Noy’s community work “inspiring.”

“We are happy to nominate Kyle Van Noy for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award,” Kraft said. “We are so proud of Kyle’s accomplishments on the field as a New England Patriot, but even more so of his character and his contributions in the community. His Van Noy Valor Foundation has helped countless children and families. He and Marissa are remembering their childhoods and how foster care and adoption positively impacted their lives.”

Van Noy has played in 12 games for the Patriots this season — missing one for the birth of his son — and leads the team with 6 1/2 sacks and 13 quarterback hits. The 28-year-old also has registered 45 tackles (six tackles for loss), three pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Previous Patriots nominees include safety Devin McCourty, offensive tackle Nate Solder and tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images