Don Carey gets Lions' nod for Waltor Payton honor

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Detroit Lions safety Don Carey has been nominated as the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year.

Carey, the veteran safety and special teams standout, has been working for years with Athletes for Charity to install a youth literacy program at two Detroit area schools, with a focus on STEM — a curriculum centered around science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Through our partnership, you can say we’ve been able to pioneer this 10-month program in multiple schools in Detroit that’s now branching out to (Tampa) Florida,” Carey said. “We’re hoping to spread it into other cities as well. Hopefully, we can continue to spread and have at least one STEM program in each NFL city.”

Carey spends his Tuesdays, an off day for NFL players, visiting the schools. He also works directly with Athletes for Charity president Cathleen C. Laporte behind the scenes with planning, meeting with corporate partners and ordering the materials.

“On the logistical side, I’m heavily involved,” Carey said. “I enjoy it. I like to know what’s going on.”

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Carey, who is also working toward a Master’s degree in theological studies during his free time, is interested in pursuing a political career back home in Virginia when he’s done playing football.

“He’s got a great heart to change people, to have an impact on our community,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “I know the third thing (we tell players) is leave this league with a purpose. What are you going to do with the rest of your life? And I think he’s one of those guys that has it all mapped out.”

Each team nominates one player for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. Former Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch had been the team’s nominee the past four years and quarterback Drew Stanton the three years before that.

Lions wide receiver Anquan Boldin won the league’s honor last season as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

Twitter: @justin_rogers