William Gay is Steelers' recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

PITTSBURGH – Cornerback William Gay, who has lent his voice and support to ending domestic violence, is the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Walter Payton Man of the Year.

The award, which is named after the late, great Chicago Bears running back, is given to one player on every NFL team and it recognizes contributions on and off the field.

Gay, a fifth-round pick in 2007, has never missed a game since breaking into the NFL. He has played 121 consecutive games, the most of any defensive back in the NFL, and Gay leads the Steelers with 12 passes broken up.

He returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown in the Steelers’ 51-34 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in late October.

Gay’s contributions off the field have been even more significant.

He has worked closely with the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, and recently the two helped launch the RUSafe app.

The app helps people determine if they are in an abusive relationship and puts them in touch with a local hotline. Gay, who lost his mother to domestic violence as a child, is the national spokesman for RUSafe.

He is also one of 23 current and former NFL players who appear in a public service announcement aimed at ending domestic violence.

Gay is eligible for the national Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which will be announced before Super Bowl XLIX.