BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Local woman Patty Champion is making it her mission to get Buffalo Bills player Harrison Phillips crowned the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.

Champion loves Harrison Phillips so much her daughter bought her a Phillips jersey for Mother’s Day. Her daughter’s co-worker is his neighbor and asked him to sign it.

“It just impressed me that he would take the time to sign the jersey for somebody that he didn’t know and even want to personalize it,” Champion said.

Soon after, it was announced that Phillips is one of the nominees for the Man of the Year award.

He’s involved with the Playmakers Organization, which helps at-risk youth build character through sports and academics.

“I thought, well if he can take the time to sign my jersey I can take the time to help him win this award,” said Champion.

Beginning December 9, she started tweeting 500 times per day voting for Phillips to win. That’s more than 19,000 times total, so far.

“It is important to me, it’s important to those kids and young adults. You see the pictures of him online and he just doesn’t donate money, he is there for them, he encourages them, you see him hugging them.”

Her hard work isn’t going unnoticed.

“That Patty, man she’s a warrior. I don’t know if you’ve seen her on there, but after this season I’m gonna try to meet up with her and give her my appreciation in person,” Philips said.

He said while he doesn’t want this to be about him, it would be great to win the money to give back to the foundation.

The winner gets a $25,000 donation to his charity of choice. The second and third place nominees get $10,000 and $5,000 donations, respectively.

Phillips is currently in third place.

“I don’t want the attention for it, I want the attention on the individuals I’ve worked with and their amazing stories and lives but it has been really heartwarming to see the support its brought, you’ve seen Bills fan rally behind things before.”

Champion said she couldn’t do this without Bills Mafia’s support and she’ll tweet until the last possible second.

“It would mean a lot just to see him wearing that crest on his chest, that would be great and those kids they deserve it, he deserves it. It just would make me very, very happy for him to win.”

This upcoming weekend is the last weekend to tweet votes.

Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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