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Budda Baker Nominated for 2021 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award

Baker will be one of 32 representatives to fight for the award. Former Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald will also help select eight finalists.

On Thursday, Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker was announced as one of 32 player nominees for the eighth annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. 

Each NFL team nominated one of its players for the award, which recognizes players around the league who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field.

The award was created in 2014 in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney Sr.

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A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community – Warrick Dunn, 2014 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award recipient, and former Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin and Leonard Wheeler – will select eight finalists (four in the AFC and four in the NFC) from the 32 nominees. 

The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category when players vote later this month.

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Baker, who was nominated last season for the award, got a raving review from Fitzgerald, who won the inaugural award. 

"Nobody means more to this football team than Budda Baker and you can take that to the bank," Fitzgerald said. "The guy plays the game the right way. He works at it the right way. The way he's wired mentally, as a teammate, he's approachable. Anybody can go talk to him, doesn't matter what your salary is or what your status is on the team. 

"He's humble, he's level-headed, he plays through injury, he plays the game of football like he's 6-foot-4, 280 pounds the way he flies around and how selfless he is. If he's asked to cover, if he's asked to blitz, if he's asked to do whatever, play different positions, he knows it all."

The award is presented each year 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.

The winner of the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award is determined by a vote of current NFL players. From the eight finalists, each team’s players will submit a consensus vote of their choice for the winner. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player.

The winner will be announced as part of NFL Honors. He will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.