Miami Dolphins legend Dan Marino presented Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly with the 2017 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award in a night of recognition at last night’s NFL Honors ceremony. The award, named after founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers Art Rooney Sr, is awarded each year to the player who exhibits the NFL’s top level of sportsmanship on the field, including respect for their opponents. Kuechly joined Frank Gore, Charles Woodson and Larry Fitzgerald as recent Rooney Award winners.
Similar to the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, each NFL team nominates one player for the Rooney award with $25,000 going to the winner’s charity of choice; other finalists this year included Antonio Gates, Josh McCown, Joe Thomas, Alex Smith, Vernon Davis, Haloti Ngata and Joe Staley. Kuechly, the five time Pro Bowler drafted by the Panthers in 2012, finished the 2017 season with a team leading 125 tackles and currently leads all NFL linebackers in interceptions with 15.