As Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott wrapped up his speech after receiving the 2022 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, he made his signature sign to the sky, saying «I love you, Mom.»

Prescott’s mother, Peggy, passed away in November 2013 after battling colon cancer. She had been the driving force behind Prescott, and he knows he would have loved to be in Arizona watching his son become the fourth cowboy to win the prestigious award for his contributions off the field.

«I would be crying,» Prescott told Yahoo! Sports. «So proud. She was a crybaby when the happy moments came. I know she’s smiling.»

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Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys attends the 12th Annual NFL Awards at Symphony Hall on February 9, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys attends the 12th Annual NFL Awards at Symphony Hall on February 9, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Prescott has been named the 2016 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, as well as a two-time Pro Bowler during his professional career thus far. He also had several awards and achievements throughout his high school days and his time at Mississippi State.

But this award has a different impact because of what it means to him and his family.

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«It’s number 1,» he explained. «When your mom is diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, has been given months to live, and breaks the news to you and says, ‘Hey, all the greats have a story. Let me be your story,’ that’s what this award means. for me». .'»

All 32 NFL teams nominate one person for the award each year, and it’s hard for the Cowboys not to send Prescott to the podium every time, considering what his Faith, Fight, Finish Foundation does for the community.

Dallas Cowboys number 4 Dak Prescott watches the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Levi's Stadium on January 22, 2023 in Santa Clara, California.

Dallas Cowboys number 4 Dak Prescott watches the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Levi’s Stadium on January 22, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The foundation is not just focused on one entity, but has four pillars: colon cancer research, mental health and suicide prevention, bridging the gap between law enforcement and the communities they serve, and offering assistance to who face adversities that represent a challenge for life.

His foundation’s mental health and suicide prevention work stems from his older brother, Jace, who committed suicide in 2020. Prescott immediately focused on awareness, even partnering with New York Jets’ Solomon Thomas, who also was nominated for the award this year. , to shed light on the change of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline to a three-digit phone number (988) that anyone can call.

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Prescott showed that he doesn’t just want to reach out to the Dallas community, as he was among other nominees who visited a Phoenix Boys & Girls Club on Friday morning, just hours after winning the award.

«My story is not for me. I say it all the time. I’m living the life that God wants me to live,» Prescott said.

Dak Prescott poses for a photo after winning the Walter Payton Man of the Year award during the NFL Honors at Symphony Hall on February 9, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Dak Prescott poses for a photo after winning the Walter Payton Man of the Year award during the NFL Honors at Symphony Hall on February 9, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

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Prescott joined Jason Witten, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman as the only Cowboys to be named Walter Payton’s Man of the Year. For the rest of his career, a Man of the Year patch will be on his jersey to commemorate the award.