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Steelers’ Signing of Wilson Sets Up Payton Patch Milestones

What do Russell Wilson (above left) and Cameron Heyward (above right) have in common? For starters, they’ll be teammates next season, as Wilson is reportedly about to sign a free agent deal with the Steelers.

More pertinent from a Uni Watch perspective is the fact that both players will be wearing the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award jersey patch next season. Wilson won the award following the 2020 season and, like all past award winners since 2018, gets to wear the patch for the rest of his career. Heyward won the latest edition of the award last month and will begin wearing the patch for the 2024 season. This will mark the first time that an NFL team has had two Payton-patched players on the roster simultaneously.

In addition, Wilson will become the first NFL player to wear the Payton patch for three different teams. He wore it in 2021 with the Seahawks, then took the patch with him to Denver in 2022 and ’23, and now will wear the patch for the Steelers.

Update: A few minutes after publishing this piece, I realized I was wrong about Wilson being the first player to go Payton-patched for three different teams. Linebacker Thomas Davis Sr. previously accomplished that feat for the Panthers, Chargers, and Washington:

So Wilson has now tied Davis for the top spot in that category.

(My thanks to reader Christopher Taylor for pointing out the Wilson/Heyward situation.)

Comments (10)

    “…Panthers, Chargers, and Washington”

    I honestly don’t mean to sound snarky so please don’t take it that way, but I’m wondering why you don’t refer to the third team as the Commanders. It’s a terrible name, but I’m curious about why you don’t use it.

    MOY patch and logo patch, clutter!
    As I understand it, the Walter Payton award is for players who go over and above the norm for giving back to their community. An annual award recognizing them is great, as that recognition is not only a pat on the back for them, but publicity for whatever group(s) they help.
    What is funny is they are now being adorned with a special badge to show their selflessness. When in fact, I would think a WPMOY award winner would being doing this because it is the right thing, and would not want a special badge saying “I’m a great person”.

    The league gave the award, designed the patch to be worn, and allows it to be worn the rest of the career. (They may even require it). Gotta get upset at the league for allowing it, not the player.

    The 3 patches on the chest will be something for RW. We could assume a C patch opposite the Steelers patch. So does the WP patch go next to the C, Above the C, or above the Steelers? Hm.

    Weren’t Larry Fitzgerald and JJ Watt both MOTY on the Cardinals? I feel like they were both patched up at the same time.

    I read something that said they might not do the patches, does that seem realistic?

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