Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson is the Giants’ nominee for the 2019 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
The award, established in 2014, is given annually by the NFL in recognition of outstanding sportsmanship on the playing field. The winner is determined by a vote of the NFL players.
The award is presented each year to an NFL player “who demonstrates the qualities of outstanding sportsmanship on the playing field, including fair play, respect for opponents and integrity in competition.” It is named in in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney, Sr.
The first five winners of the award were Larry Fitzgerald, Charles Woodson, Frank Gore, Luke Kuechly, and Drew Brees.
“I’ve always looked up to players like that,” Tomlinson said. “Just to be even considered in a category with them is always great. It’s pretty exciting knowing I’m up for an award like that.”
The Giants’ previous nominees have been linebacker Jameel McClain, running back Rashad Jennings, wide receiver Victor Cruz, offensive lineman Justin Pugh, and tight end Rhett Ellison.
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, December 13.
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 during the nationally televised NFL Honors show on Saturday, February 1 on FOX, the night before Super Bowl LIV. He will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice. He will also receive a trophy that represents 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 players at all levels.
“It means more to me because it’s the way your peers look at you,” Tomlinson said. “It also shows you have some type of leadership role within your peers and they look at you in a certain way. It’s always positive.”
Originally a second-round (55th pick overall) draft choice by the Giants in 2017, Tomlinson has never missed a start in his NFL career. He has 140 career tackles, 3.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. In 2017, Tomlinson was the first Giants rookie defensive lineman to start 16 games since Barry Cofield in 2006. He was selected to the Pro Football Writers All-Rookie team after a standout career at Alabama, where he won two national championships.
“Sportsmanship has always been important just through high school and college, it’s how I’ve always played,” said Tomlinson, a Georgia native. “I just want to put my hand in the dirt and have fun out there.”
Photos from the career of defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson