NASHVILLE – Ben Jones founded The Jones Mission two years ago to raise money for organizations that serve at-risk youth.
This year the foundation distributed $85,000 raised via through the Ben Jones Celebrity Clay Shoot to a pair of local charities. It also funded holiday shopping events for families in need locally and in Jones’ hometown of Centreville, Ala.
Because of his efforts in the community, Jones was named the Tennessee Titans’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. The team announced the award Thursday.
In recognition of the honor, the starting center will wear a special helmet decal through the remainder of the season and will be a candidate for the 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award along with one player from each of the league’s other 31 teams.
All 32 nominees receive a $50,000 donation in their name, via the NFL Foundation, to the charity of their choice. The NFL Man of the Year will receive an additional $250,000 donation. The winner will be announced Feb. 1 during the NFL Honors awards show.
Each Team has named a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year annually since 1996. Jones is the first Titans offensive lineman to earn the distinction.
“It’s an honor to be nominated as the Titans’ Water Payton Man of the Year,” Jones said in a release from the team. “It’s incredibly important to me to help kids in need and to show them that anything is possible through hard work, determination and prayer. I have been fortunate that my foundation has been able to impact the lives of kids in Nashville and Alabama.”
This year The Jones Mission gave $45,000 to Preston Taylor Ministries, which addresses issues common to a Nashville public housing area, to help open a facility for after-school programs. Another $40,000 went to Endure Athletics, a Murfreesboro-based organization that provides fitness, education and mentorship opportunities to homeless children.
Jones also hosts senior football players from his high school, Bibb County (Ala.) High School, at a Titans game each season, stages an annual summer camp in his hometown and sponsors the annual holiday shopping trips for families in need.
Jones entered the NFL in 2012 as a fourth-round pick of the Houston Texans, the Titans’ opponent this Sunday at Nissan Stadium. After four seasons with Houston, he signed as a free agent with Tennessee in 2016 and has been the team’s starting center since.
He was named a team captain this season.