NEW YORK (AP) – Veterans Joe Thomas, Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis are among eight finalists for the NFL’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
Also announced Monday as finalists are Luke Kuechly, Haloti Ngata, Joe Staley, Josh McCown and Alex Smith.
The award recognizes those who best demonstrate the qualities of on-field sportsmanship: fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition. The award was created in 2014 in honor of the founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney Sr.
Staley (2015 and 2016), Smith (2014) and Kuechly (2015) have been finalists in the past. Past recipients of the award are Frank Gore, Charles Woodson and Larry Fitzgerald.
A panel of former players selected the eight finalists from the 32 team nominees. The panel is comprised of Hall of Famer Curtis Martin, Warrick Dunn, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler.
The winner is determined by a vote of current NFL players. The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category when players vote on Friday. Of the eight finalists, each team’s players will submit a consensus vote of their choice for the winner. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player.
The award will be presented during NFL Honors, when The Associated Press hands out its individual awards, Feb. 3, the night before the Super Bowl. The winner receives a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.