“Jesus gave me this platform to create and do good for this world.”

That’s how Broncos starting left guard Dalton Risner responded to his team’s nomination for one of the most prestigious awards the National Football League hands out: The Walter Payton Man of the Year.

Drafted by the Broncos four years ago, the 27-year-old Kansas State alum has started every game for Denver since arriving in the Mile High City.

Risner is not just driven to be the best football player he can be, but to be a light in his community. Football is just the platform the young man uses to help people and introduce them to Christ in the process.

Despite the grueling demands of professional football, Risner finds the time to bless others through the Risner Up Foundation, a charity he created while still in college. Whether working with the Special Olympics, the Denver Rescue Mission, children in need, wildfire victim relief, or the more than 40 public appearances on behalf of those causes he made in 2022 alone, Risner is driven to give back and to make his savior, Jesus Christ, known far and wide.

His performance on and off the field prompted the Broncos organization to nominate Risner for the Walter Payton recognition. The award, named in honor of the great Chicago Hall-of-Fame running back, recognizes the best of the NFL’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact. Thirty-two players are selected as their team’s Man of the Year and become eligible to win the national award, which will be announced the Thursday before the upcoming Super Bowl.

The Broncos, along with Risner’s wife, Whitney, sprang the nomination surprise at Empower Field at Mile High via a video shown on the stadium’s big screen. The humble 6’5”, 312-pound giant expressed his thanks later on Twitter:

The young man is deeply grounded in his faith, and doesn’t let his football role become his identity.

“I’m not Dalton Risner the football player. When the NFL ends and football is over, I’ll find my identity in Christ because I’m worthy for Him,” he told Sports Spectrum in a 2021 interview.

“Just because I play a sport of football down here, that doesn’t mean anything,” he added.

The message he delivers to everyone who will listen, from church congregations to high school athletes, is the same one his charitable foundation is based on, from 1 Peter 4:10 (ESV): “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

Dalton Risner plays football, but he lives for Christ. He’s got his priorities exactly right.

Congratulations on your nomination, Dalton.