Kenny Moore thought he was sitting down for an on-camera interview with the Colts' in-house video team, a simple conversation in a much-needed bye week following a 31-0 win over the Houston Texans.
As he began to answer the first question from a studio seat, he noticed someone appear on his left.
It was his mother, Angela Carter, who sat down in a studio seat and had news to share: Her son was the Colts' nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) December 7, 2021
"Wow, I wasn't expecting that," Moore said after embracing his mother in a hug. "There's much more that I want to do in the community, to have that kind of light for my team and the organization. That is crazy."
Every year, the 32 NFL franchises make a nomination for an award named after an all-time great running back who was the embodiment of making the job about more than just football. The award recognizes the work players do in the community through charity events, donations and outreach.
Moore is the team's recipient this year. In five years in Indianapolis, the 26-year-old has worked his way from an undrafted player out of Valdosta State to one of the staples of the Colts defense. He's played 97.6% of the team's defensive snaps this year, primarily at slot corner, and he leads the team with four interceptions.
But he's become just as big of a force in the Indianapolis community.
By now, many know of the bond he formed with Mason Garvey, the 9-year-old boy who died from a rare form of pediatric cancer. Moore had run out of the Colts' tunnel with Mason, took him to dinner and played video games with him. That bond was highlighted in HBO's "Hard Knocks" this past week with Moore celebrating Thanksgiving with the Garvey family. In his honor, Moore has raised more than $6,000 for the Mighty Mason Fund.
Moore's efforts have expanded elsewhere this season. He is on the boards for the George4 Foundation, which supports people with special needs; and the A Kid Again Foundation, which helps kids with life-threatening illnesses. In September, he helped build a playground for an Indiana public school.
He has also been open in speaking on mental health issues, such as the anxiety he battled earlier in his career. That advocacy certainly helped him earn the team's nomination, as owner Jim Irsay has taken the cause seriously with his "Kicking the Stigma" initiative.
"Kenny is just so authentic," Colts coach Frank Reich said. "What's so impressive is the consistency of these impactful moments over so many years. These aren't just flashes here and there."
Contact Nate Atkins at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NateAtkins_.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Colts CB Kenny Moore is nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year