Frank Gore of the Indianapolis Colts is the winner of the 2016 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. The announcement of the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award was made at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special recognizing the NFL's best players, performances and plays from the 2016 season that will air nationally tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on FOX.
The award, which was founded in 2014 in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney Sr., recognizes the NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of outstanding sportsmanship on the playing field, including fair play, respect for opponents and integrity in competition.
Gore will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.
A 12-year NFL veteran, Gore ranks eighth in NFL history with 13,065 rushing yards and is one of only five players in league annals with at least 13,000 rushing yards and 400 receptions in his career. Gore joined the Colts prior to the 2015 season after a 10-year stint with the San Francisco 49ers, where he rushed for a franchise record 11,073 yards and 64 touchdowns. A five-time Pro Bowler and 2006 AP All-Pro selection, he was a third-round draft choice of San Francisco in 2005.
The winner of the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award is determined by a vote of current NFL players. Previous recipients of the award include Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals (2014) and Charles Woodson of the Oakland Raiders (2015).
Each NFL team nominated one of its players for the award, which recognizes players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field. A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community selected eight finalists (four in the AFC; four in the NFC) from the 32 nominees. The panel of Legends Coordinators was comprised of Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler.
The eight finalists were listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award when players voted on December 16, 2016. From the eight finalists, each team's players submitted a consensus vote of its choice for the winner. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team could not vote for its own player.
The finalists, featuring four players from each conference, were linebacker Brian Cushing (Houston), Gore, tight end Greg Olsen (Carolina), linebacker Julius Peppers (Green Bay), running back Darren Sproles (Philadelphia), tackle Joe Staley (San Francisco), linebacker Demarcus Ware (Denver) and guard/tackle Marshal Yanda (Baltimore).
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