49ers

Former 49ers RB Gore wins 2016 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award

Former 49ers RB Gore wins 2016 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award

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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Tony Romo: Jimmy Garoppolo 'cannot be in a better situation'

Tony Romo: Jimmy Garoppolo 'cannot be in a better situation'

Sure, Jimmy Garoppolo would have liked to have played more during his first four and a half seasons with the Patriots. But learning under Tom Brady and Bill Belichick isn't all that bad.

What he learned in New England set him up for success with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers.

At least that's how former Cowboys quarterback and current CBS analyst Tony Romo looks at it.

“You cannot be in a better situation early on than Jimmy,” Romo said. “He’s been with some of the best minds you could ever be around in the National Football League. He got the foundation of Bill Belichick, who probably set his routine for success for the rest of his career. He was around Tom Brady for three-plus years, learning through osmosis if nothing else. Tom’s ability at the line of scrimmage to do something, and then for Jimmy to go back and study the how and why … I am sure Jimmy saw so much subtlety that took Brady years to learn through experience. Jimmy could just see it in practice and he’s like, Oh, now I see why he did that.You get that ability to improve at a much faster rate than you otherwise would have on your own. It’s really a priceless thing for young quarterbacks to be behind a great quarterback," Romo told Peter King for his Football Morning in America column.

As for Shanahan and his abilities as a play-caller, Romo had high praise for the second-year head coach.

“And now with Kyle Shanahan, he’s getting an offensive genius. I don’t throw that term around lightly—Kyle really is. I would argue there’s three or four guys in the league who really separate themselves as head coaches or offensive coordinators getting chunk plays. You’re dropping back and you’re having a guy come open 20, 25 yards downfield. That’s a huge load off a quarterback’s shoulders for always having to produce on third down to move the chains. That’s where Kyle really separates himself," Romo told King.

49ers TE Garrett Celek pinpoints exactly when he knew Jimmy Garoppolo was a keeper

49ers TE Garrett Celek pinpoints exactly when he knew Jimmy Garoppolo was a keeper

Jimmy Garoppolo had five games last season to impress his new 49ers teammates. But according to one of his teammates, it didn't take very long for the quarterback to prove himself.

Tight end Garrett Celek was recently asked by Peter King when he realized Garoppolo was a keeper.

"The first time he got in the huddle with us," Celek told King this week's Football Morning in America column.

“I’d said maybe two words to him. I didn’t know what kind of guy he was. He came into the huddle for the very first time, and he talked to us and called the play like he’d been in there 10 years. It was awesome,” Celek elaborated.

In those five games with the 49ers, Garoppolo put on a show for his coaches, teammates and 49ers fans. He completed 120 of 178 passes for 1,560 yards and seven touchdowns. The 49ers won all five games. His performance in those five games earned him a massive pay day this past offseason. The former second-round pick signed a five-year, $137.5 million contract in February.