Saints tight end Benjamin Watson nominated for NFL’s Man of the Year award _lowres

New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson (82) is tackled by Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph (24) during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

The New Orleans Saints have nominated veteran tight end Benjamin Watson for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for excellence on and off the field, and each team nominates one player for their work in the community.

Watson, who has spent the year touring the country to speak about the issue of racial reconciliation and recently published a book, “Under Our Skin,” about the topic of race relations in America, fit the bill for the Saints.

For the season, the 34-year-old Watson already has 50 catches for 604 yards, the second-highest catch and third-highest yardage total of his career to this point.

By being nominated, Watson earned a $5,000 donation to a charity of his choice from Nationwide and the NFL Foundation.

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will be selected by a panel that includes Payton’s wife, Connie, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, former NFL stars Anthony Munoz and Ladainian Tomlinson and 2014 winner Thomas Davis.

The panel will whittle the initial pool of 32 down to three in January, and then the winner will be announced on the NFL Honors awards show the night before Super Bowl 50.