Houston Texans CB Johnathan Joseph was nominated for the 2018 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, the NFL announced today. 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. and is presented each year to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.
For the past 13 NFL seasons, Joseph has exemplified sportsmanship, integrity and respect for both his opponents and the game through his play and leadership on the field. Since entering the league in 2006, Joseph leads all active cornerbacks in the NFL in passes defensed (176) and career total tackles (675). In 2018, the Texans captain became the third-fastest player in NFL history to reach 175 career passes defensed in his 178th career game and did so within the framework of the NFL rules. Joseph has only been flagged once this season. In fact, during his 13-year career, he has only been flagged an average of 2.3 times per season despite appearing in 113-of-121 games since joining the Texans in 2011.
Joseph’s on-field leadership has been noted by Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien, who called the two-time Pro Bowler ‘a great pro’ and someone who ‘brings a lot to the table, obviously as a player, but also as a leader.’ Texans Secondary Coach Anthony Midget referred to Joseph as an ‘extension of the coaching staff’ and teammate Jadeveon Clowney heaped Joseph with praise, noting, ‘Since I walked into the NFL, he’s been there to guide me the whole way. Every question I ask, he’s got an answer for it.’
A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community will select eight finalists (four in the AFC and four in the NFC) from the 32 nominees. The panel is comprised of Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler. The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category when players vote on Friday, December 14.
The winner is selected by the vote of the players and will be announced during the nationally televised NFL Honors show on Saturday, February 2 on CBS, the night before Super Bowl LIII. 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.