Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner on Thursday was named one of 32 nominees for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, which is given annually 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.”
Buckner is established as one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL and has 5 1/2 sacks and 14 quarterback hits in 13 games during his second season with the Colts. The former No. 7 overall pick has 43 1/2 sacks in six season spent with the Colts and San Francisco 49ers; he was a 2020 First-Team All-Pro and a 2018 Pro Bowler.
The award was created in 2014 in honor of the late Pittsburgh Steelers owner and Hall of Famer Art Rooney Sr. Former Colts running back Frank Gore won the award in 2016, while most recently, Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater earned the honor in 2020.
The winner of the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award is voted on each year by fellow players.
The Colts have had three finalists for the award in the last three years: Defensive end Justin Houston (2020), wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (2019) and quarterback Andrew Luck (2018).