Buffalo Bills WR Chris Hogan is among the 32 player nominees for the first NFL Sportsmanship Award, the NFL announced today.
With roots in college lacrosse and limited exposure to football, WR Chris Hogan capitalized on his opportunity to play professional football.
Each NFL team nominated one of its players for the award, which will recognize annually NFL players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field. The winner of the NFL Sportsmanship Award will be determined by a vote of current NFL players. A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community will select from the 32 nominees eight finalists (four in the AFC; four in the NFC).
"While we enjoy the incredible performance of NFL players on the field, we must never forget a core value of football that transcends all levels of play and exemplifies the complete athlete: sportsmanship," NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations and former Buffalo Bill Troy Vincent said.
"This award will recognize those who never hesitate to show that excellence in football is not achieved without respect for the game, for their opponents, for the officials and for the fans."
The panel is comprised of Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler.
The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award when the players vote on December 19. From the eight finalists, each team's players will submit a consensus vote of its choice for the winner. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player.
The award will be 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.
The winner selected by the vote of the players will be announced during the nationally televised "4th Annual NFL Honors" show on Saturday, January 31 on NBC, the night before Super Bowl XLIX.
He will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.
He also will be presented with a trophy that will capture the important role that sportsmanship plays in the game and how NFL players that demonstrate integrity and honor on the field serve as role models for other players at all levels.
Hogan, a former collegiate lacrosse player, is in his third season with the Bills. He entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, and spent time of the Practice Squads of the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins before arriving in Buffalo, where he has amassed career highs of 36 receptions for 375 yards and four touchdowns this season. The full list of nominees:
WR Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona; RB Steven Jackson, Atlanta; WR Torrey Smith, Baltimore; WR Chris Hogan, Buffalo; CB Terence Newman, Cincinnati; LB Thomas Davis, Carolina; RB Matt Forte, Chicago; CB Joe Haden, Cleveland; TE Jason Witten, Dallas; DE DeMarcus Ware, Denver; WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit; WR Jordy Nelson, Green Bay; DE J.J. Watt, Houston; WR T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis; DT Roy Miller III, Jacksonville; QB Alex Smith, Kansas City; DE Cameron Wake, Miami; LB Chad Greenway, Minnesota; WR/ST Matthew Slater, New England; WR Marques Colston, New Orleans; LB Jameel McClain, Giants; T D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Jets; S Charles Woodson, Oakland; LB Connor Barwin, Philadelphia; S Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh; TE Antonio Gates, San Diego; LB Patrick Willis, San Francisco; LB K.J. Wright, Seattle; DE Robert Quinn, St. Louis; DT Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay; S George Wilson, Tennessee; S Ryan Clark, Washington.