Spikes nominated for NFL Man of the Year Award

Linebacker Takeo Spikes had a standout season.

On and off the field.

After a turn-back-the-clock performance in his 13th year in the NFL, Spikes is the 49ers’ nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. The award, named after the Bears’ legendary running back, recognizes player’s volunteer and charity work as well as excellence on the field.

Each of the NFL’s 32 teams nominates a player for the award. The three finalists will be announced during the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. The winner will be recognized during the Super Bowl. Recent winners include Kurt Warner, Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson and Peyton Manning.

In 2003, Spikes launched 51 Ways, Inc. with former NFL linebacker Carlos Emmons. Spikes and Emmons have lost family members to cancer and their foundation provides financial, spiritual and physical support to families of children with cancer and blood disorders. Spikes is also involved in a variety of the team’s community relations events, which range from hospital visits to shopping with children during the holidays.

The team’s beat writers also voted Spikes the winner of the Garry Niver Award for his cooperation and professionalism with the media.

On the field, Spikes, who was splitting playing time with rookie NaVorro Bowman early in the season, finished with 109 tackles, his highest total since 2003, according to NFL statistics. Spikes also shared team-high honors with three interceptions.

Spikes, who turned 34 on Dec. 17, is an unrestricted free agent. If his Twitter account is any indication, he would like to return to the 49ers. Asked on Friday if wanted to come back, Spikes wrote, “I wouldn’t be entertaining this question if I wasn’t.” Teams can re-sign their own free agents until the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on March 4.

The NFL Man of the Year Award was established in 1970 and renamed for Payton in 1999.

A look at the past winners (a 49ers player has never won the award, but former coach Mike Singletary won in 1990):

2009: Brian Waters, Chiefs

2008: Kurt Warner, Cardinals

2007: Jason Taylor, Dolphins

2006: Drew Brees, Saints; LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers

2005: Peyton Manning, Colts

2004: Warrick Dunn, Faclons

2003: Will Shields, Chiefs

2002: Troy Vincent, Eagles

2001: Jerome Bettis, Steelers

2000: Derrick Brooks, Buccaneers; Jim Flanigan, Bears

1999: Cris Carter, Vikings

1998: Dan Marino, Dolphins

1997: Troy Aikman, Cowboys

1996: Darrell Green, Redskins

1995: Boomer Esiason, Jets

1994: Junior Seau, Chargers

1993: Derrick Thomas, Chiefs

1992: John Elway, Broncos

1991: Anthony Muñoz, Bengals

1990: Mike Singletary, Bears

1989: Warren Moon, Oilers

1988: Steve Largent, Seahawks

1987: Dave Duerson, Bears

1986: Reggie Williams, Benagls

1985: Dwight Stephenson, Dolphins

1984: Marty Lyons, Jets

1983: Rolf Benirschke, Chargers

1982: Joe Theismann, Redskins

1981: Lynn Swann, Steelers

1980: Harold Carmichael, Eagles

1979: Joe Greene, Steelers

1978: Roger Staubach, Cowboys

1977: Walter Payton, Bears

1976: Franco Harris, Steelers

1975: Ken Anderson, Bengals

1974: George Blanda, Raiders

1973: Len Dawson, Chiefs

1972: Willie Lanier, Chiefs

1971: John Hadl, Chargers

1970: Johnny Unitas, Colts

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