Tag: Nominated

ATL News / Sports

Falcons stalwart nominated for Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award

Similar to the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, every NFL team nominates a player for the annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. The Falcons nominated Mike Davis for the league’s most prestigious honor, which recognizes what he’s done in his community.

Art Rooney Sr. was the founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a Pro Football Hall of Famer, who has had a profound impact on the NFL; most notably, the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs.

The award, though, recognizes players around the league who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field — fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition. It is chosen by a panel from the NFL Legends Community, who will select four finalists from each conference.

Warrick Dunn, Larry Fitzgerald, Curtis Martin, and Leonard Wheeler will select these eight players; then, each will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot for the players to vote on later in December. This year’s Falcons nominee is none other than one of the team’s stalwarts — Jake Matthews.

Matthews has been the Falcons’ left tackle since he was drafted in 2014 and has started in all 16 games in every season except his rookie year, which he started in 15. If this stretch continues, it’ll be his seventh straight season of starting every single game. Rarely recognized by the national media, Matthews has been a mainstay in Atlanta for many years. Given his incredibly dependable leadership and play, this nomination is no surprise.

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