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Jason Cabinda Nominated For Walter Payton NFL Man Of The Year Award

Former star Penn State football linebacker Jason Cabinda has been nominated for this year’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, the Detroit Lions announced Tuesday.

Each year, the award recognizes a player for leading the way in community service along with success on the football field. All 32 NFL teams nominate one player each season.

The Lions’ press release noted that Cabinda has taken part in helping Detroit’s youth and community as a whole since he joined the team in 2019. The Nittany Lion has led initiatives with Davison Elementary School, including a Back to School Book Drive in which more than 800 books and other school supplies were given to students. Cabinda also led virtual weekly reading comprehension sessions with students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

When a condo complex collapsed in Surfside, Florida this past June, Cabinda organized a food drive to help feed rescue crews. He’s also organized food drives for Detroit’s homeless population and did the same in Oakland when he played for the Raiders.

Before signing with Detroit in 2019, Cabinda played one season with the Raiders after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State. As a Nittany Lion, Cabinda totaled 283 tackles as a reliable linebacker from 2014-17. He stood out during his senior season in Happy Valley by making 88 total tackles, forcing two fumbles, and grabbing 6.5 tackles for loss.

The former defender continued to play linebacker for the Raiders, but has carved out a niche for himself in Detroit as a fullback. Cabinda has developed into a solid lead blocker at the position, and has totaled 23 yards on three rushing attempts this year.

Cabinda will now wear the NFL Man of the Year helmet decal for the rest of the season, and will be honored as a nominee in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. You can read more about his specific charitable efforts here.

The New Jersey native is the first Penn Stater to be nominated for the award since Chicago Bears wideout Allen Robinson back in 2019. The only Nittany Lion to ever win the honor was Steelers legend Franco Harris in 1976.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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