The NFL announced today that running backs Ben Tate of the Houston Texans, LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles and Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens are the finalists for the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week.
Fans can vote for Tate at NFL.com/FedEx from 8 a.m. CT on Tuesday through 2 p.m. CST on Friday to determine the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week. The winner will be announced Friday on NFL Total Access on NFL Network and on NFL.com.
Tate had 116 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries in his first-career regular-season game in Week 1. It was the most rushing yards by a Texans running back in his debut with the team. A 2010 second-round pick from Auburn who missed his rookie season with an ankle injury, Tate scored on a two-yard run in the first quarter to help the Texans beat the Colts 34-7.
Fans will be voting for more than their favorite player. As part of the Air & Ground program and its commitment to small business owners, FedEx will support education efforts at Junior Achievement, by making weekly $2,000 donations in each of the winning players' names. The funding, allocated to local Junior Achievement area offices in that team's city or state, is used to help U.S. small business development, by educating the next generation of entrepreneurs on how to start and grow their own businesses.
This season, FedEx introduces a new category called the FedEx Small Business of the Week. As fans visit NFL.com/FedEx to vote for their favorite Air & Ground players each week, they can also cast their vote for one of three small business nominees. FedEx will award $5,000 each week to the small business that receives the most online votes. The program culminates in recognizing the FedEx Small Business of the Year at the Super Bowl, complete with tickets to the game.
A closer look at the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week finalists:
• Philadelphia's LeSEAN McCOY had 15 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 15 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles' 31-13 win over the St. Louis Rams. His fourth quarter, 49-yard touchdown scamper effectively ended any chances the Rams had of mounting a comeback.
• Houston's BEN TATE had 24 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown in the Texans' 34-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts. His two-yard touchdown run capped off a 17-0 first quarter that gave the Texans an early and commanding lead.
• Baltimore's RAY RICE had 19 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 42 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens' 35-7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rice is the only back to have broken the 100-yard mark against the Steelers in Pittsburgh's last 51 games. His 11-yard touchdown reception with less than two minutes left in the second half gave the Ravens a two-score advantage going into halftime.