The National Football League today announced Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David as the team's nominee for the sixth annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, which recognizes players around the league who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field.
The two-time All-Pro has been designated as a captain in each of the past six seasons and his leadership has been praised by his teammates and coaches.
"I don't know if you can quantitively put a value on [his leadership] – it's so big," Head Coach Bruce Arians said. "For a young guy to go to a guy, and for him – on the field, off the field, everywhere in life – to help these kids out the way he does, the ultimate pro is the only way I can say it. He is the ultimate pro."
On top of leading the NFL in solo tackles and opponent fumble recoveries since entering the league in 2012 and being one of only two players in NFL history (Brian Urlacher) to record 800-plus tackles, 20-plus sacks and 10-plus interceptions through his first seven seasons, David consistently demonstrates sportsmanship each time he takes the field.
Among the 189 NFL players with 1,700-or-more defensive snaps since the start of the 2017 season, David (2,353) and Eric Weddle (2,671) are the only two players in the league without a penalty.
A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community will select eight finalists from the 32 nominees. A consensus vote from each team, from the organization's current players, decides the winner from the pool of eight finalists.
The winner, selected by the vote of the players, will be announced during the nationally televised NFL Honors show on Saturday, February 1 on FOX, the night before Super Bowl LIV. 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.