The NFL announced on Tuesday that Antonio Gates is one of 32 nominees for the 2017 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
Each NFL team nominates one of its players for the award, which recognizes players around the league who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field.
This marks the second time Gates has been nominated for the prestigious award, as he was the Chargers’ inaugural nominee in 2014. Philip Rivers was the team’s nominee in 2015 and 2016.
Created in 2014 in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney, Sr., the award is presented each year 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.
The winner of the NFL Sportsmanship Award is determined by a vote of current NFL players. A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community will select eight finalists (four in the AFC and four in the NFC) from the 32 nominees. The panel is comprised of Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler.
The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category when players vote on Friday, December 15. From 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.
Past winners of the award include Frank Gore (2016), Charles Woodson (2015) and Larry Fitzgerald (2014).