The 32 players nominated for the seventh annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award have been finalized, the NFL announced Thursday.
This year, the Cowboys’ nominee is running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Previous nominees for the Cowboys were Byron Jones Jersey, Dak Prescott Jersey, Travis Frederick, Brandon Carr Jersey and Sean Lee Jersey.
Each NFL team nominated one player for the award, which recognizes players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field.
The award was created in 2014 in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney, Sr.
A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community — Warrick Dunn, Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler — will select eight finalists (four in the AFC and four in the NFC) from the 32 nominees. The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category when players vote on Friday, Dec. 18.
The award is presented each year to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.
2020 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Nominees
The winner of the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award is determined by a vote of current NFL players. From the eight finalists, each team’s players will submit a consensus vote of their choice for the winner. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player.
The winner will be announced as part of NFL Honors. He will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.
FRISCO, Texas – “Small victories.”
That’s the positive mindset Dak Prescott is taking each day as he grinds through what’s expected to be a months-long rehab from October surgery to repair a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle.
The Cowboys starting quarterback suffered the season-ending injury Oct. 11 against the Giants and immediately underwent successful surgery. He’s expected to make a full recovery, and with an estimated timetable of four to six months, the Cowboys are confident he’ll be back on the field during the offseason program next spring.
Speaking on NFL.com’s Pepsi Rookie Roundtable, Prescott was asked his advice for rookies going through their first season in the league.
“Don’t take anything that you’re doing for granted,” he said. “No matter how big or how small it is, don’t take it for granted because it’s a blessing. I’ve been able to play every level of my career because the guy in front of me has gotten injured, so I know what it means to be ready and to stay ready in case a guy gets injured in front of you.
“But now to be that guy that’s injured for the first time in my career missing the rest of the season, it’s different. It’s tough. But for me, it’s about making and creating small victories. So each and every day when I wake up and I go in for rehab, it’s about, for me, seeing my leg or seeing my body do something that it didn’t do the day before or creating a feeling that I didn’t have before so I know that I’m continuing to get better.
“And at the end of the day, I know my team needs me. And I know they need me now for support, but they’ll need me again later. So it’s about helping them whichever way that I can and however I can. But it’s about being right mentally and then counting those small victories.”
When the season began back on Sept. 13 in Los Angeles, the Cowboys had 14 players on the roster who had made it to at least one Pro Bowl.
Now, five of them are either on injured reserve, expected to miss a few more weeks due to injury, or have been released or traded.
And of the remaining nine, few of them seem to be in line for a return trip to the Pro Bowl.
That’s the reality of a team that is 3-8 here in early December. While the NFC East is still obtainable, mainly because of the struggles of the rest of the division, it won’t be easy for the Cowboys to extend their own streak of seven consecutive years of at least five Pro Bowlers.
In fact, the Cowboys have had at least two make the Pro Bowl since 2000 – when only Larry Allen Jersey made it.
And could this be the first year since 1989 that the Cowboys are shut out of the Pro Bowl with no selections?
The best chance for the Cowboys would likely be guard Zack Martin Jersey, who has made the Pro Bowl each of his six pro seasons. But he’s missed one game already with a concussion and could miss 2-3 more here this month with a calf injury.
Linebacker Jaylon Smith Jersey, who made the Pro Bowl last year as an alternate, is among the NFL leaders in tackles. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence Jersey has made it twice and is playing much better of late, but his slow start to the season will make it difficult to get in.
But again, the Cowboys’ record will certainly play against them in terms of the voting.
Like just everything during this unique season, the Pro Bowl process has changed as well.
Most importantly, there won’t be an actual game this year as the NFL decided to skip the game because of the pandemic.
With that, there will be no need for alternates or other players opting out of the game for other reasons.
So the 44 spots for the NFC and AFC squads will be final when it’s announced later this month.
Roster selections are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 88 All-Star players. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes on Friday, December 18.