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Julius Peppers is finalist for Sportsmanship Award

Veteran linebacker has been team's nominee the past two seasons


GREEN BAY — Packers LB Julius Peppers has been named one of eight finalists for the 2016 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.

Each NFL team nominated one of its players for the award, which recognizes those who best demonstrate the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition. The award was created in 2014 in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney Sr.

Peppers, in his 15th NFL season, was the Packers' nominee last season, while WR Jordy Nelson was the team's nominee in 2014, the first year the award was given out.

The other seven finalists are Houston LB Brian Cushing, Indianapolis RB Frank Gore, Denver LB DeMarcus Ware, Baltimore OL Marshal Yanda, Carolina TE Greg Olsen, Philadelphia RB Darren Sproles and San Francisco T Joe Staley. All eight of the finalists have Pro Bowl experience and have a combined 38 Pro Bowl selections.

A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community selected the eight finalists from the 32 nominees. The panel is comprised of Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheelers.

The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category when players vote on Friday, Dec. 16. 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.

Former Packers DB Charles Woodson was the recipient of the 2015 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award last season with Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald winning the inaugural award in 2014.

The winner selected by the vote of the players will be announced during the nationally televised NFL Honors show on Saturday, Feb. 4 on FOX, the night before Super Bowl LI. 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.

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