Outlaws of the autumns, swashbuckling marauders of the gridiron, the Raiders are the league’s bad guys by choice and design.
For Silver and Black fullback Alec Ingold, however, being the white hat among the wild bunch is a celebration of each of the endeavors in his life he’s most passionate about: playing Raiders football and positively affecting his community.
“It’s kinda cool. You get to put on a helmet and shoulder pads, you get to be the outlaw, you get to be a bully. You get to be with a bunch of guys that love playing football,” Ingold says. “[You get to be part of] that whole aura on Sundays. And then Tuesday you can go out and help a community and see a spark in a kid’s eyes. It is cool doing both of those things.”
As the Las Vegas Raiders’ nominee for the 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year, Ingold has devoted his time and energy to fundraising for and serving nutritious meals to those who need them most, supporting the Special Olympics and spreading awareness about the need and importance for foster and adoptive families. He’s done it all while blocking for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and paving the way for running back Josh Jacobs’ 1,000-yard season.
Among the 32 nominees, Ingold, in just his second NFL season, is the least experienced among the field. No player has ever won the award in their first three seasons, according to NFL Research, and Ingold has an opportunity to do it in Year 2.
“It means the world to me,” Ingold says of the nomination. “It wasn’t really on my radar. As a young guy, my second year and I was undrafted last year. So, to kinda receive that respect among the guys in your facility, in your organization, was pretty surreal.”
It’s all the more surreal as Ingold is the only fullback in the field of nominees and having a trying year on the field, though it’s been one in which he’s carried on no matter the obstacles.
Slowed by busted ribs sustained in early November, Ingold was relegated to sleeping on the couch for a few weeks. That was, for a time, where his daily routine began. Early to wake to get additional treatment, to get his body warmed up for the grind of practices, the 24-year-old hasn’t missed a game. Perhaps more inspiring, though, is that it hasn’t slowed Ingold off the field.
“Learning how to deal with adversity and still being able to impact a community is amazing,” Ingold says.
Though the honor was unexpected for Ingold, it was an aspiration all the same.
Given annually, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award is recognized as the league’s most prestigious honor and recognizes NFL players “for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field.”
Striving to become part of the prestigious class of honorees was something that came into view roughly a year ago when Ingold accompanied Jacobs to Miami ahead of the Super Bowl.
“I remember going to the Super Bowl with Josh, the NFL Honors show,” Ingold says. “He was up for Rookie of the Year and he brought me, so [I had a chance] to kinda experience everything. It was our rookie year together. To see [2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year] Calais Campbell speak last year. You know you get a little taste of everything at the Super Bowl, right? You get the advertisement, endorsement stuff. You get the radio-side of things. And then, you get the NFL Honors show.
“When Calais talked, that was like, ‘That’s what I want to do. That’s the impact I want to have – moving forward for the rest of my life.’ After seeing all that, trying everything, to have that speech, that moment kind of be like that’s what I want to do down the road, I was expecting to kinda have this long-term goal. And for that nomination to be happening this year is kind of surreal for me.”
Giving of his time and efforts off the field didn’t emanate from Miami, though. It’s something that’s been with Ingold for quite some time – all the way back to growing up in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Always quick to point out and appreciate the efforts of a support staff that includes his marketing and community relations teams, it’s always begun with his parents – mother Chris and father Pat.
“I think it really starts with my parents. Being adopted, understanding how important that support system was for me, how I was raised,” Ingold says. “My parents mean the world to me and the way they raised me growing up, I always knew it was about helping the person next to you. Whether that’s on the football field being accountable, being a good teammate or in the community, having a platform to give back. It really starts with them. That whole adoption thing is huge for me. I feel like that gives me a sense of, ‘I’m on this planet to do something.’ There’s that divine intervention of ‘I’m here for a reason.’ I’m gonna do everything I can to impact the people around me because that’s what my parents did for me. They gave me the best opportunity possible to live out my dreams. That’s kind of where I got that from and that’s where the support toward Raise the Future AdoptUSKids, the national spokesperson-type thing kind of parlays into that.”
Ahead of Election Day, Ingold was active in a “Get Out and Vote” campaign and he offered his support to Special Olympics competitors from Nevada and California by way of a “Virtual Fall Sports & Fitness” workout. In Las Vegas, Ingold aided the Three-Square Food Bank’s Coronavirus Emergency Food Fund in providing 31,000 healthy meals for kids, veterans and furloughed workers and he also served meals to first- and second-graders at Jack Dailey Elementary. But it’s adoption and AdoptUSKids that beckons him above all and what he’s chosen as the charity that will receive an NFL donation in his name as a result of Ingold’s MOTY nomination.
“I just hope people talk about how important adoption is,” Ingold says. “It changed my life. I’m a living testimony of someone who was adopted and was given a great opportunity to live my best life because I had a great adopted family. I just hope that having those conversations helps one more family, helps one more kid find that home.”
Did you know that I’m adopted? That’s why I’m partnering with @AdoptUSKids : to help raise awareness about the need for more foster and adoptive families for children and youth. Visit https://t.co/n9EwLGsKcm to learn more. S/o the little sis @sydnie_29 pic.twitter.com/lQtaMva7xy
Able to find a home long ago, Ingold’s now aiming to do the same for others.
Ingold is now a Las Vegas fullback, but was once a Green Bay kid who was able to listen to Packers such as Ahman Green, William Henderson, Randall Cobb, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers speak and give back to their community.
“I was that wide-eyed kid,” Ingold says. “That meant the world to me, just seeing them.
“Those people kind of shaped my life growing up. And I know that’s kind of the impact people can have in the NFL, just by smiling, by shaking someone’s hand, by having conversation.”
Among the Silver and Black’s storied brutes and bandits, a once-wide-eyed kid has emerged as one of the NFL’s 32 best men.
The 2020 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a prime-time awards special to air nationally the week of Super Bowl LV on CBS. For more information on the nominees and the award, visit NFL.com/manoftheyear.
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