(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
The Steelers announced on Thursday that Cameron Heyward is the Steelers' nominee for the seventh annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, which is an annual honor given out to a player for their on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.
Heyward has been the Steelers' defensive captain for the last six years and it's the second time in his career that he's been nominated for the award, the other time coming in 2017. Heyward, a Pittsburgh native, is the quintessential Steeler on and off the field with his exemplary character and leadership. Heyward personifies sportsmanship with the way he carries himself. He is one of the leaders in the locker room and is always giving back to the Pittsburgh community and in Georgia where he went to high school.
"There are a lot of good football players in the NFL, but there are a lot of selfish players. Cam is not like that," assistant head coach and Heyward's former position coach John Mitchell told Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. "Cam wants to win. He doesn't care if his number is called or not. What I like about him is when he encourages a player, or corrects a player, he is correcting himself. I have heard him tell players this is what we have to do, but I have to do it just as well as you have to do. That makes the player he is engaging with feel good because they know he isn't just talking to them, but he is talking to himself too, saying Coach Mitchell wants me to do it better too."
The award was created in 2014 and named after Art Rooney Sr. in honor of the great sportsmanship that "The Chief" displayed as the founder and owner of the Steelers. One player from every team was nominated for the award and eight finalists, four in each conference will be selected by members of the NFL Legends Community, who include
Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler on the committee.
The eight finalists will be voted on by current players, who will cast their vote on their Pro Bowl ballot under NFL Sportsmanship Award. The winner is announced during the NFL Honors show the night before the Super Bowl.
Below are the 32 nominees for the 2020 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, via Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.