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The 8 finalists for the 2016 NFL Sportsmanship Award

By The Sports Xchange
The 8 finalists for the 2016 NFL Sportsmanship Award
Denver Broncos' DeMarcus Ware speaks to the media in Santa Clara, California on February 2, 2016. The Denver Broncos will play the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, February 7. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Denver Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware is one of eight finalists for the NFL's Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.

The finalists, announced Monday by the NFL, feature four players from each conference:

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AFC
Brian Cushing - LB - Houston Texans
Frank Gore - RB - Indianapolis Colts
Marshal Yanda - G - Baltimore Ravens
Demarcus Ware - LB - Denver Broncos

NFC
Greg Olsen - TE - Carolina Panthers
Julius Peppers - LB - Green Bay Packers
Darren Sproles - RB - Philadelphia Eagles
Joe Staley - T - San Francisco 49ers

All eight of the finalists have Pro Bowl experience and have a combined 38 Pro Bowl selections.

A player from all 32 teams was nominated for the award, "which recognizes those who best demonstrate the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition," the NFL said in a release.

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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 selected the eight finalists from the 32 nominees. The panel is comprised of Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler.

The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award category when players vote on Friday. 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 players selected Charles Woodson of the Oakland Raiders as the recipient of the 2015 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals was the inaugural winner of the award in 2014.

The winner will be announced during the nationally televised NFL Honors show on Feb. 4, the night before Super Bowl LI. He will receive a trophy and a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.

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