The NFL has announced the eight finalists for the ninth annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, set to be presented later this season. The announcement of the field of eight finalists was made on Thursday, Dec. 14, with the winner being announced in February.
The award was initially created and given to a player in 2014 and it honors the legacy of Art Rooney Sr., the late Pittsburgh Steelers founder and Pro Football Hall of Famer.
It's an award meant to recognize the player who best demonstrated sportsmanship on and off the field, contributing to the community and keeping the game clean.
The initial pool of candidates for the award comprised 32 players, one per franchise, as voted by each team in-house and collectively. A panel of former players, however, was tasked with selecting the eight finalists, four from each conference.
The final candidates that will fight for the award are Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Khalil Mack, Las Vegas Raiders edge rusher Maxx Crosby, New York Jets linebacker CJ Mosley, Baltimore Ravens guard Kevin Zeitler, Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker, San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk, and Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner.
These finalists will also appear on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category, highlighting their recognition among their peers for their conduct and sportsmanship in the game.
The decision on the winner, who will be announced during the "NFL Honors" show on Feb. 8, will be made through a vote by current NFL players.
The Ravens voted third-year man (at Baltimore) Kevin Zeitler as their candidate for the award, and so far it's proved to be a quite solid decision considering the guard has made it to the final group of eight players in contention for the award.
Former Ravens C.J. Mosley and Kyle Juszczyk made it to the final group while now playing for the Jets and the 49ers, carrying a Baltimorean past with them into the final round of voting for the 2023 Art Rooney Sportsmanship award.