Steelers running back James Conner has been nominated for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, the team announced on Thursday.
The award, which has been given to an NFL player annually since 2016, has never been given to a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. It is awarded annually to the player that demonstrates “qualities of great sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for opponents, and integrity in competition.”
“It is gratifying that sportsmanship is the category,” said Steelers President Art Rooney II when the award was first announced. “It’s appropriate. I like to think of my grandfather as someone who truly was a good sport, somebody who cared about the respect and the integrity of the game. The fact it’s being voted on by the players, well, the recipient can feel good about it because it’s voted on by his peers.”
Conner is among 32 nominees, one from each team, that will narrowed down to eight finalists by the NFL Legends Community. Current players will vote on the winner out of the eight finalists, but cannot vote for a teammate.
The winner will be announced the night before Super Bowl LIV and the winner of the award is also granted a $25,000 donation to a charity of his choice.
“Art Rooney is an iconic figure in NFL history,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the time the award was introduced. “It is appropriate that we honor his legacy in this way and recognize NFL players for one of the important values that Mr. Rooney represented so well.”
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees won the award in 2018. Conner’s fellow Pitt alumnus Larry Fitzgerald won the inaugural award in 2014.