Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker was announced as one of 32 players nominated for the eighth Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award on Thursday.
Each NFL team has nominated one of their players for the award, which recognizes league players who exemplify exceptional sportsmanship on the field.
The award was established in 2014 in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Professional Football Hall of Fame, Art Rooney Sr.
A panel of former NFL Legends Community players – Warrick Dunn, recipient of the 2014 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, and former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, running backs Curtis Martin and Leonard Wheeler of the Professional Football Hall of Fame – will select eight finalists (four in the AFC and four in the NFC) from the 32 nominees.
The eight finalists will be entered on the Pro Bowl ballot in the NFL Sportsmanship Award category when players vote later this month.
Baker, who was nominated for the award last season, received rave reviews from Fitzgerald, who won the inaugural award.
âNobody matters more to this football team than Budda Baker and you can bring it to the bank,â Fitzgerald said. âThe guy plays the game the right way. He works at it the right way. The way he’s mentally wired, as a teammate he’s approachable. Anyone can go talk to him, no matter what your salary or your status is part of the team.
“He’s humble, he’s a cool head, he plays despite injuries, he plays football like he’s 6ft 4in, 280lb the way he flies and how selfless he is. If he is. invited to cover, if asked to blitz, if asked to do anything, play different positions, he knows everything. “
The award is presented annually to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of sportsmanship on the field, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.
The winner of the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award is determined by a vote of current NFL players. Among the eight finalists, players from each team will submit a consensus vote of their choice for the winner. As with Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player.
The winner will be announced as part of the NFL Honors. He will receive a donation of $ 25,000 from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.