Jaguars' Leader Calais Campbell Named A Finalist For 2019 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Ever since arriving to the Jacksonville Jaguars as a free agent in 2017, defensive lineman Calais Campbell has been held in maybe the highest regard of any Jaguars player. Leadership, honesty, and professionalism are all accurate ways to describe the 12th-year veteran.
This was all once again reaffirmed Thursday when the Jaguars announced Campbell had been nominated as one of eight finalists for the 2019 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, which is described as "An NFL honor presented annually to a player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition."
Campbell is a finalist for the second-consecutive season and joins linebacker Thomas Davis, Sr. (Los Angeles Chargers), wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis), running back Adrian Peterson (Washington), wide receiver Matthew Slater (New England), quarterback Matthew Stafford (Detroit), offensive lineman Joe Staley (San Francisco) and safety Eric Weddle (Los Angeles Rams).
"This game is meant to be fun," Campbell told JaguarMaven in the locker room at TIAA Bank Field on Thursday. "But at the end of the day, it is really about bonding with your teammates, having fun and enjoying yourself. and when you compete, you compete in a good nature."
"And obviously you are going to be emotional, you are going to have some kind of altercations in a sense, but for the most part I feel like I try to make sure that everybody knows that I respect what they do out here," Campbell continued. "Every single person I have played against, I respect what they do to get there and what they have to do every day to be the best they can be on the field at all times."
The winner of the NFL Sportsmanship Award is determined by a vote of current NFL players, according to a release from the Jaguars. From the eight finalists, each team’s players will submit a consensus vote of their choice for the winner.
What does a player get aside from the respect of their peers when they win the award? They are a given a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of their choice, as well as 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."
Campbell isn't focused much on if he wins the official award or not. Instead, he is honored to have been thought of by his peers in this sense to begin with.
"For me, I love the game of football. It is very fun. So for my peers to nominate me and think that I am worthy of the sportsmanship award, it is incredible. It is a good feeling," Campbell said.
"I feel like what is special about it is that people think about you. They are thinking about me when they think about sportsmanship and playing the game the right way, and that is a good feeling."