The Detroit Lions have one of the brightest personalities in football in running back Jamaal Williams, and finally, Williams is being honored for being one of the best teammates and players in the NFL.
On Thursday, December 9, Williams was officially revealed as the team’s nominee for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, and the reveal was special news for one of the brighter personalities in football and on the Lions.
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Here’s a look at how the Lions broke the news to Williams early in the day on Twitter:
Typically, players learn of who wins the award just before the Super Bowl. It’s voted on by players themselves, so the award represents a good chance for players to show they have the respect and admiration of their peers. Certainly, Williams qualifies as such a person, so it will be interesting to see where he finishes when all is said and done.
Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award Explained
Being a nominee for this award is a major accomplishment for an NFL player, as the award is quite special around the league. As explained in the NFL release, it was created to honor an NFL legend and former team owner from Pittsburgh, and
“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.
A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community — Warrick Dunn, 2014 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award recipient Larry Fitzgerald, Pro Football Hall of Famer 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.
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.”
It’s easy to see how folks would believe Williams fits these criteria well for the Lions given his personality and the bright way he approaches the game.
In 2019, long snapper Don Muhlbach was the team’s Rooney Award nominee, while former quarterback Matthew Stafford was last season’s nominee. Clearly, Williams is joining an esteemed list in Detroit lately with this in mind.
Williams Having Solid Season With Lions
After signing with the Lions this offseason, Williams has done a decent job, posting 459 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns this year. While it’s not an overwhelming statistical total thus far, Williams has also been splitting work with Swift, Jermar Jefferson, Godwin Igwebuike and others in the team’s backfield. At times, Williams has also shown himself to be a capable receiver for the team, putting up 117 total yards thus far this season. Overall, the Lions may have wanted to see more production, but Williams has been effective at running the ball for the team when he has been called upon.
Perhaps just as important as Williams’ play has been his leadership. Once again, the running back is going the extra mile in that department for the Lions, and will be receiving some good recognition for his work in the form of this honor.