Free safety Devin McCourty is one of the most respected players in the New England Patriots organization. As a six-time team captain, he serves as a leader both on and off the field. Naturally, seeing the team recognize this publicly does not come as a surprise. How did they do it? By naming McCourty the Patriots’ nominee for the NFL’s 2016 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
The honor, which was created in 2014 and named after the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers owner, recognizes "players around the league who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field". Whether McCourty wins the award depends on the players. First, a panel of former players – among them ex-Patriot running back Curtis Martin – will determine the eight finalists before all active players select the winner on their Pro Bowl ballots.
On the eve of Super Bowl LI, the winner will be announced and receive a $25,000 check to a charity of his choice. Together with his twin brother Jason, Devin McCourty runs a charity named Tackle Sickle Cell, so this might be where the money is headed in case the 29-year old wins the award.
Good luck, Devin!