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Central High Product Johnson Nominated for Top NFL Honor

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Former Central High star Jaylon Johnson is the Chicago Bears' nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. (chicagobears.com)
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Central High School and the entire Fresno community can rightly be proud of Jaylon Johnson, the former Grizzlies football standout who is now a starting Chicago Bears cornerback.

Johnson, 23, is the Bears’ nominee for this season’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. It is considered one of the league’s highest — if not the highest — honors.

The award spotlights players who excel on the field while impacting their community in a positive way.

Slain Friend Inspires Kevvy’s Vision Project

After his childhood friend, Kev’Vion Schrubb, was gunned down in summer 2021 near Fresno State, Johnson established a nonprofit in his honor. Kevvy’s Vision Project is dedicated to improving opportunities in underserved Fresno neighborhoods.

Kevvy’s Vision Project has hosted multiple events, including a holiday giveaway to more than 150 families. During the pandemic, Johnson provided holiday relief and support to families with children.

“I’m very honored to be nominated for such a prestigious award,” Johnson told chicagobears.com. “I started the foundation with the intention of keeping my friend Kev’Vion’s legacy going. Before the foundation, it was Kev’Vion who would do such important things to help our community. Being in the NFL, I recognize my great fortune to be in the position to do the very things he did every day when he was here with us.”

Johnson is in his third season with the Bears after being drafted in the second round following his junior season at the University of Utah.

Bears coach Matt Eberflus told Johnson that he was the team’s nominee in early December. Walter Payton’s widow, Connie, and their son, Jarrett, were there for the announcement.

About the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

All 32 team winners will be highlighted as nominees and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LVII. The 2022 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air the Thursday before Super Bowl LVII on NBC.

In addition, the nominees receive up to a $40,000 donation in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Payton award will receive up to a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice. The donations are provided by the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.

The list of Payton award winners is at this link.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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