ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane value guys with “high character” and that’s one of the traits they look for when drafting players. They hit a home run in that department when it came to selecting defensive tackle Harrison Phillips in 2018.
Even before he joined the Bills, Phillips always gave back to his community in different ways, one of those is through is Playmakers organization and he continued that service here in Buffalo.
Now Phillips is being recognized league-wide for his efforts as he was named the Bills 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, an award that honors players for their commitment to philanthropy and community impact.
“It’s a huge blessing. I’ve very thankful, very appreciative of receiving the honor especially on a team and organization that has so many fantastic guys of high character that do a lot in the community themselves,” Phillips said.
“There’s so many people in the locker room who also deserve this award and the recognition and stuff. It definitely is a privilege to represent the Buffalo Bills but also know there’s so many other guys in the locker room doing great things in the community as well. This is definitely one of the most, if not the most distinguished honors I’ve received yet in my life.”
Every team’s nominee will receive up to $40,000 toward a charity of their choice with the winning player receiving $250,000.
There’s a long list of ways Phillips has given back to the community and made a difference. His organization, the Playmakers, helps children with intellectual disabilities and throughout the year holds different events for those kids to encourage a healthy lifestyle while having fun.
Even when he was going through rehab after tearing his ACL last season, Phillips still made time to give back to the kids, something he says he needed during that difficult time in his life.
“It was also like medicine almost too. There were so many hard things I had to go through and still am that being able to give back and serving the community and work with some of the kids that I work with kind of wipes away all the pain and gives you such great perspective on things that are really going on outside of there,” Phillips explained.
He also helped start the movement within the Bills to provide internet services to teachers and students in the City of Buffalo during week one. Phillips also donated $10,000 worth of meals to healthcare workers when the COVID-19 pandemic started.
Obviously because of the pandemic, he hasn’t been able to give back in the same way he usually does, which has added to the stress of this year.
“Maybe that’s why this season’s even been a little more difficult mentally, I haven’t been able to get with the kids. I’ve still been able to put on some events but can’t be there physically and that’s kind of like a remedy for me to really get a true grasp on what really matters outside of this so that’s one thing I’m missing,” Phillips explained.
These are just a few examples of the many ways Phillips has made an impact on not just this community here in Buffalo but everywhere he’s been.