As if 2020 could not be awkward for the winless Jets, their nomination for the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award is a player they released last month.
Cornerback Pierre Desir, who was let go on Nov. 17, is the Jets’ nominee even though he currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens.
A Jets spokesman said Desir was nominated prior to his release, and “his tremendous work in the anti-bullying space earned him our nomination.”
Desir, who signed a one-year deal worth $3.75 million in April after two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, appeared in nine games (eight starts) and led the Jets with three interceptions – including one for a touchdown — when he was cut. (He still leads the 0-12 Jets in picks this season).
Still, PFF had graded Desir as the 105th cornerback out of 120 at the time of his release, with a passer rating of 116.5 when targeted.
Desir, whom the Ravens promoted Tuesday from their practice squad to their 53-man roster, also was the Colts’ nominee for the Walter Payton award in 2019.
A native of Haiti, Desir donated $185,000 to build a performance center at the high school he attended in St. Charles, Missouri, among his other charitable participation.
Each nominee receives a donation of $40,000 to the charity of his choosing, with the winner earning a $250,000 charitable donation in his name. The winner will be revealed during the league’s award show, NFL Honors, the night before Super Bowl LV.
Former Jets Marty Lyons (1984) and Boomer Esiason (1995) are past winners of the NFL Man of the Year award. Giants quarterback Eli Manning also was honored in 2016.