The Los Angeles Rams have chosen safety John Johnson III as their nominee for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
The award is given annually to a player that displays outstanding sportsmanship on the field. It was created in 2014 to honor the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers Art Rooney Sr.
Johnson has emerged as an integral member of the Rams’ secondary ever since joining the team as a third-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He is once again in the midst of a career year with 74 tackles, eight pass defenses and an interception so far in the 2020 NFL season.
Now that every team has put forth their nominees, a panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community – Warrick Dunn, Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler – will then select four finalists from the AFC and four from the NFC. The winner of the award will then be determined by current players when they fill out their Pro Bowl ballots on Dec. 18.
The winner will not only be announced as part of NFL Honors, they are also set to receive a $25,000 donation to a charity of his choice. Given how active Rams players have been with their philanthropic efforts this season, it is safe to say that Johnson will find a way to put it to good use.
There has certainly been a pattern for the recent players chosen as recipients of the award as it has a tendency to be favored toward well-respected veterans and future Hall of Famers. This is evidenced by running back Adrian Peterson and quarterback Drew Brees taking home the honor over the last two seasons.
Even if Johnson does not make the cut as a potential finalist, his nomination is indicative of the kind of impact he has both on and off the field.