CHARLOTTE - Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has been named the team's nominee for the 11th annual NFL Salute to Service Award, presented by USAA.
The Salute to Service Award recognizes NFL players, coaches, personnel and alumni who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community, as nominated by NFL clubs.
Finalists will be announced in January, with the winner being recognized at NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air nationally the week of Super Bowl LVI.
This marks the second consecutive year that McCaffrey is the Panthers' nominee for the award.
"I've always had a huge respect for the military," McCaffrey said. "I have a little bit of military background on my dad's side (Ed McCaffrey, who had a 13-year NFL career), so growing up it's just some of the values instilled in me at a young age. Without the men and women who defend our country, I wouldn't be able to play the game that I love so much."
Through his personal engagement over the past five seasons, McCaffrey has partnered with military service organizations USO of North Carolina and Veterans Bridge Home in a variety of morale-raising and fundraising efforts. He has also joined forces with team and league partners USAA and Lowe's to support their military outreach initiatives as well.
In 2021, McCaffrey embarked on a deeply personal effort to support troops and their families dealing with the challenges of PTSD as his foundation established the 22 and Troops Initiative in partnership with REBOOT Recovery. 22 and Troops was launched out of a desire by McCaffrey to support those who have made the greatest sacrifices and need help to address what happens when the uniform comes off, and these heroes come home. In addition to fundraising and program support, an important symbolic element of the 22 and Troops program is McCaffrey's "Comeback Coin," a unique challenge coin which he provides to deserving service members who are returning from active deployment.
As the presenting sponsor of the Salute to Service Award, USAA, a leading provider of insurance and other financial services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families, will contribute $25,000 in the recipient's name to the official aid societies representing all military branches. The NFL will match USAA's contribution of $25,000, which will be donated to the award recipient's military charity of choice.
The Panthers, in partnership with Lowes, collaborated on a renovation of the Veteran's Bridge Home lounge. The lounge will serve as a welcome home center for veterans to receive services needed to transition into civilian life.