The eight finalists for the 2018 ART ROONEY SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD have been named, the NFL announced today. The finalists, featuring four players from each conference, are defensive end CALAIS CAMPBELL (Jacksonville), tight end ANTONIO GATES (Los Angeles Chargers), quarterback ANDREW LUCK (Indianapolis) and safety ERIC WEDDLE (Baltimore) in the AFC, and quarterback DREW BREES (New Orleans), tight end VERNON DAVIS (Washington), tackle JOE STALEY (San Francisco) and cornerback TRAMON WILLIAMS (Green Bay) in the NFC.
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 (2015-16, 2018), 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 in 2018.
Each NFL team nominated one of its players for the award, which recognizes players around the league who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field. The award 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 from the NFL Legends Community selected the eight finalists from the 32 nominees. The panel is comprised of WARRICK DUNN, CURTIS MARTIN and KARL MECKLENBURG. The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category when players vote on Friday, December 14.
The winner of the NFL Sportsmanship Award is determined by a vote of current NFL players. 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.
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 selected by the vote of the players will be announced during the nationally televised NFL Honors show on Saturday, February 2 on CBS, the night before Super Bowl LIII. 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 that 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.