Ben Roethlisberger, Josh Allen Among Rooney Sportsmanship Award Nominees

Ben Roethlisberger

(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the Baltimore Ravens on December 5, 2021.

On Thursday Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was named his team’s nominee for the 2021 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, as per Each NFL team nominates one of its players for the award, which recognizes those who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field, 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 and receives a $25,000 donation to a charity of his choice. This year’s nominees also include Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Cleveland Browns are represented by running back Nick Chubb and the Cincinnati Bengals nominated wide receiver Stanley Morgan.

A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community will select eight finalists (four from each conference) from the list of 32 nominees. The finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category when players vote later this month.

The award was created in 2014 in honor of Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney Sr., the late founding owner of the Steelers. No Steelers player has yet won the award. Past winners include Larry Fitzgerald, Charles Woodson, Frank Gore and Drew Brees.

Roethlisberger Poised to Reach Top 5 in Passing Yards

If Ben Roethlisberger passes for 335 yards against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night, he will move into fifth place all-time in career passing yards, jumping ahead of Philip Rivers, who was selected seven spots ahead of him in the 2004 NFL Draft.

Roethlisberger currently has 63,106 passing yards, with the next closest QB on the list being Brett Favre at 71,838 yards.

He needs just 242 yards against the Vikings to reach 3,000 yards passing for the 15th-time in his 18-year career. He produced a career-high 5,129 passing yards in 2018.

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3 Steelers Named to Pro Football Focus’ Third-Quarter All-Pro Team

On Thursday December 8 Pro Football Focus named it’s All-Pro Team through 13 weeks of the 2021 NFL season. It’s a list that includes several Vikings players that the Steelers will face on Thursday night, namely quarterback Kirk Cousins (second team), wide receiver Justin Jefferson (second team) and return specialist Kene Nwangwu (first team).

There are three Steelers on PFF’s All-Pro squad, led by first-team defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, who “is threatening to post the best season grade of his career as he approaches his 33rd birthday,” writes PFF’s Sam Monson. Outside linebacker T.J. Watt (16 sacks) is a second-team edge rusher behind Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns, and Chris Boswell is PFF’s second-team placekicker, behind Justin Tucker of the Ravens.

From a Pittsburgh fan’s perspective, arguably the most notable name on PFF’s list is that of linebacker Jamir Jones (Los Angeles Rams), who earns second-team honors for his work on special teams.

The Steelers discovered Jones at Notre Dame’s 2021 Pro Day, a year after he went undrafted. He went on to beat out 2021 sixth-round draft pick Quincy Roche and veteran Cassius Marsh for the fourth and final outside linebacker spot on Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster.

But the Steelers waived him on September 28, 2021, to make room on the roster for Derrek Tuszka, a 2020 seventh-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos and former MVFC Defensive Player of the Year. He was claimed on waivers by the Rams and made an immediate impact for Los Angeles, responsible for the “double punt” block against the Seattle Seahawks that went viral.

Thus far Jones has appeared in eight games for the Rams and has been credited with five total tackles and one quarterback hit. Most of his action (166 snaps) has come on special teams, though he has also played 48 snaps on defense.

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