New England Patriots' Matthew Slater again among finalists for Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award

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Thursday, December 30, 2021

Matthew Slateris afinalist for the third straight year and fourth time overall for the NFL's Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.

The league announced Thursday the eight finalists for the honor that recognizes players who best demonstrate the qualities of on-the-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.

Joining Slater, a wide receiver and special teams standout for the New England Patriots,as finalists:Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, Houston Texans receiver Brandin Cooks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David, Miami Dolphins defensive back Jason McCourty, New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk and Minnesota Vikings wideout Adam Thielen.

David is a finalist for the second straight season and has been nominated for the award in each of the past four seasons. Juszczyk also is a finalist for the second consecutive season. Allen, Cooks, McCourty, Jordan and Theilen are finalists after being first-time nominees.

A panel of former players that include Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin selected the eight finalists from the 32 team nominees. The panel also is comprised of Warrick Dunn, Leonard Wheeler and Larry Fitzgerald, who won the first Art Rooney award in 2014.

"I've had the honor of competing with many of the nominees on the list," Fitzgerald said. "More importantly, I've had the blessing of knowing and building relationships with several of them off the field. The legacy of Mr. Rooney lives on through these men. They represent teamwork, competitiveness, hard work, optimism, and integrity."

Juszczyk is a finalist for the second consecutive season. Allen, Cooks, McCourty, Jordan and Thielen are first-time nominees.

The winner of the award will be determined by a vote of current NFL players. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player.

Other previous winners were Hall of Fame defensive back Charles Woodson, Luke Kuechly, Frank Gore, Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson and Teddy Bridgewater.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.