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Detroit Lions DT Haloti Ngata named 1 of 8 finalists for Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award

The veteran Lions defensive tackle continues to have a pristine reputation in the league.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Haloti Ngata’s season may be over—and the same may be true of his NFL career—but he may not be done collecting accolades. On Monday, the NFL announced that Ngata was one of eight finalists for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.

The Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award is given to the NFL player that most exemplifies fair play and good sportsmanship on the field. This is the first time in his 12-year career that Ngata has been nominated for the award.

The other seven nominees are Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, Jets quarterback Josh McCown, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, Browns tackle Joe Thomas, Washington tight end Vernon Davis, Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly and 49ers tackle Joe Staley.

Since joining the Detroit Lions in 2015, Ngata has only committed four (accepted) penalties, according to Pro-Football-Reference. Three of those were alignment penalties and only one was a personal foul for unnecessary roughness.

Voting on these eight finalists will be determined by current NFL players and the winner will be announced during the annual NFL Awards ceremony on Saturday, February 3.

Ngata has also been recognized for his off-field accomplishments. Late last week, the Lions nominated Ngata as their team representative for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. This award is given to the NFL player who best exemplifies excellence on and off the field.

Ngata’s charity, The Haloti Ngata Family Foundation, was founded in 2012. Their mission statement is “to improve the lives of others through love and strength.” Sports Illustrated has more on Ngata’s off-the-field accomplishments, as well as accomplishments from the other 31 players nominated for the award.

Congratulations to Ngata for his nominations, and good luck to him in February!