Davis, Gates, Brees, Staley among sportsmanship finalists
NEW YORK (AP) — Washington tight end Vernon Davis, already nominated for the NFL’s Man of the Year Award, is one of eight finalists for the league’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
The other finalists, announced Friday, are Jacksonville defensive end Calais Campbell, Chargers tight end Anthony Gates, Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck, Baltimore safety Eric Weddle, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, San Francisco tackle Joe Staley, and Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams.
Staley is a finalist for the fourth consecutive season, while Davis (two career nominations) and Gates (three career nominations) are finalists for the second straight year. Campbell, who is a finalist for the first time, has been nominated in three of the past four years, while Brees has been nominated in each of the past two years and is a first-time finalist. Luck, Weddle and Williams are all first-time nominees.
The Rooney Award recognizes players around the league who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field. It was created in 2014 in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney Sr.
A panel of former players — Hall of Famer Curtis Martin, Warrick Dunn and Karl Mecklenburg — selected the eight finalists from 32 nominees, one from each club. The winner is determined by a vote of current NFL players, but they can’t vote for a teammate.
The Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award winner will be announced during NFL Honors, when the AP presents its individual award winners. That prime-time program from Atlanta will be on Feb. 2, the night before the Super Bowl.
2017 — Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
2016 — Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts
2015 — Charles Woodson, Oakland Raiders
2014 — Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals