GREEN BAY – Veteran Packers defensive back Tramon Williams has advanced to the finalist stage for the 2018 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
Last month, Williams was named the Packers’ nominee, and the 32 league-wide nominees have now been narrowed down to eight finalists, four from each conference.
Joining Williams on the finalist list from the NFC are New Orleans QB Drew Brees, Washington TE Vernon Davis and San Francisco T Joe Staley. The finalists from the AFC are Jacksonville DE Calais Campbell, L.A. Chargers TE Antonio Gates, Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck and Baltimore S Eric Weddle.
The award was created in 2014 in honor of the Pro Football Hall of Famer and late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Art Rooney, Sr. It recognizes players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.
"The sportsmanship of the game is why we’re in it, because ultimately this is really a brotherhood more than anything," Williams said in a brief interview with packers.com. "Yeah, we compete against one another, but we also go through the same things. We go through the same trials, we go through the same tribulations, and we face the same things.
"It’s big to uplift your brothers when you do get that chance, because it is always about competition, but at the end of the game, none of that stuff matters. It’s about brotherhood and loving one another. That’s where my faith is."
Williams added that he's not one who concerns himself with individual awards, "but when you personally feel that way and you are recognized, it means that much more."
Williams is a first-time nominee and finalist, along with Luck and Weddle. Staley, Davis and Gates have all been finalists in past years, while Campbell and Brees have been team nominees multiple times each.
The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category when players cast their votes next Friday, Dec. 14. The player vote will determine the winner, with each team submitting a consensus choice for its selection. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player.
The winner will be announced during the NFL Honors show on Super Bowl weekend. The recipient will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.
Previous winners of the award are Carolina LB Luke Kuechly (2017), Indianapolis RB Frank Gore (2016), former Green Bay and then-Oakland CB Charles Woodson (2015) and Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald (2014).