The eight finalists for the second annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award have been determined, the NFL announced today. The finalists, featuring four players from each conference, are running back JUSTIN FORSETT (Baltimore), running back MATT FORTÉ(Chicago), linebacker LUKE KUECHLY(Carolina), quarterback MATT HASSELBECK(Indianapolis), wide receiver CALVIN JOHNSON(Detroit), cornerback JASON MC COURTY(Tennessee), tackle JOE STALEY(San Francisco) and safety CHARLES WOODSON(Oakland).
Each NFL team nominated one of its players for the award, which recognizes players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field. The award was was created last season in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer ART ROONEY, SR. It is presented annually to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.
A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community selected from the 32 nominees eight finalists. The panel is comprised of WARRICK DUNN, CURTIS MARTIN, KARL MECKLENBURG and LEONARD WHEELER.
The winner of the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award is determined by a vote of current NFL players. The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award when players vote on December 18. From the eight finalists, each team's players will submit a consensus vote of its choice for the winner. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player.
In 2014, the players chose LARRY FITZGERALD of the Arizona Cardinals as the inaugural winner of the Art Rooney Award.
The winner selected by the vote of the players will be announced during the nationally televised "5th Annual NFL Honors" show on Saturday, February 6 on CBS, the night before Super Bowl 50. He will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice. He will also receive a trophy that represents the important role sportsmanship plays in the game and how NFL players that demonstrate integrity and honor on the field serve as role models for players at all levels.
Woodson, an 18-year veteran, was the fourth overall selection of the Oakland Raiders in the 1998 NFL Draft. Woodson spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Raiders before joining the Packers for seven seasons (2006-12) and later rejoining Oakland in 2013. In 18 seasons, Woodson has 65 interceptions, tied for the fifth-most all time.