The Denver Broncos selected left tackle Garett Bolles as the team’s nominee for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. Bolles was “beyond grateful and humbled” to be the Broncos’ selection for the prestigious award.
“My mom always taught me to love God and love people,” Bolles told reporters on December 6. “So I’ve [taken] that upon myself and just really applied it in this community. I’m just very grateful that I got to reach as many children as I can and use my voice and my platform to be able to help those kids that are in need so close to home.”
The All-Pro is active in Arapahoe County’s juvenile probation court mentorship program and the Broncos’ team-wide outreach efforts. He has also worked to positively impact the community through his foundation the Garett Bolles Foundation.
Bolles emphasizes he’s not out for attention through his community outreach. Bolles is motivated by his love for the kids he works with and the opportunity to share his story to help them.
“I really do this because I genuinely care and I love for these kids. These kids have taught me so much about myself. They probably said that I’ve helped them, but they’ve helped me just as much,” Bolles said.
The Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner will be announced at NFL Honors on February 8, 2024.
Garett Bolles Opens Up About Personal Hardships & Overcoming the Odds
Bolles’ path to the NFL was paved with personal hardships. The All-Pro shared how he overcame the odds in his “My Why” video shared on the Broncos’ official YouTube page.
“I didn’t live like what most kids did,” Bolles said in the video posted on September 22, 2021. “I had a lot of adversity growing up. Having those family issues with my father and my mother and my siblings to my lacrosse coach picking me up off the street. Moving in there with that family and them giving me a light and them becoming my family for the last 12 years of my life.”
Greg and Emily Freeman gave Bolles a second chance that he would not squander. Bolles expressed gratitude for how the Freeman family taught him how to work hard, be a father and become a role model.
One roadblock in his way was learning how to cope with his struggle with ADHD. Rather than give up, Bolles decided to confront his learning disability head-on. His methods have served him well in his life as an NFL player.
“Being ADHD, you take a lot of notes. Every person is a little bit different, but I have to write everything down so that I can remember what I’m supposed to do or when or what appointment it is or what playbook or what play it is.”
Since being selected as the Broncos’ first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Bolles feels content about the direction his life is going.
“Now, I’m on a track that I don’t think anyone can knock me off and I’m grateful for that.”
Garett Bolles Foundation Empowers Children & Youth With Learning Disabilities to Find Success
Bolles and his family founded the GB3 Foundation in 2022. The foundation aims to empower children and youth with learning disabilities through all means necessary.
Children can live their dreams through mentorship in educational strategy, mental and spiritual well-being, whole-body nutrition, and physical health.
Before the 2023 season, Bolles initiated his first-ever giveback campaign, “I Am King” in collaboration with his non-profit.
The offensive tackle is donating $1,000 for every Broncos game without a sack allowed. Additionally, $500 is donated for every Broncos rushing touchdown made throughout the season. Up to $25,000 is possible through the campaign, with funds going toward speech therapy and other non-profit initiatives.
The campaign has raised $17,963 out of $25,000 with five games left.
Since 2020, Bolles has frequently worked with students at Vertical Skills Academy, a non-profit school in Evergreen, Colorado. Per the Vertical Skills website, the school specializes in empowering students with dyslexia and related language-based learning differences.
Without question, Bolles has put together an All-Pro campaign off the field.