The NFL today announced that running back Frank Gore is the Colts’ nominee for this year’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
The award is given annually to the player who best represents sportsmanship - having respect for the game and opponents as well as having integrity in competition - with each team nominating a player. The award is named for the late owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Later in the year the 32 nominees will be narrowed down to a group of finalists, after which players will vote and each team will submit a consensus vote for the winner (they cannot vote for their own nominee). The winner will be announced on February 4, the night before the Super Bowl, at the annual NFL Honors show.
Frank Gore certainly fits the bill, as there are few people more competitive than him and few with a stronger desire to win, but Gore also does things the right way. He’s racked up quite an on-field resume as well, one that could very well earn him a spot in Canton one day. He’s rushed for 12,632 yards and 74 touchdowns in his career, and he ranks ninth in NFL history in rushing yards and 12th in total yards from scrimmage (15,912). He’s also as tough and durable as they come, as he’s on a current streak of playing in 89 games in a row (97 in a row if you include playoffs). This year, Gore is having a very good - and underrated - season as he has rushed for 592 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 4.1 yards per rush and has also caught 24 passes for 130 yards and three scores. That puts him on pace for a 1,052 yard, seven touchdown season rushing while averaging over four yards per carry, while he’s also on pace to catch 42 passes for 231 yards and five touchdowns. Combined, that puts him on pace for a 1,284 yard, 12 touchdown season - not bad at all for a 33-year old back.
Past winners of the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award are Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (2014) and Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson (2015). Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was the Colts’ nominee last year and actually made the cut to the list of eight finalists as well.