Bengals linebacker Vincent Rey is the type of player coaches love to have on their team. He's intelligent, highly-coachable, versatile and is an excellent person off-the-field. While he isn't a perennial Pro Bowl defender, he does everything that is asked of him and has had quite a successful NFL career after being an undrafted linebacker out of Duke University.
Recently, the 32 nominees from each NFL squad were announced for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. The award is defined as one honoring "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", named after the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers owner. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald won the award in 2014.
This isn't the first time Rey has been in the limelight for a league "good guy award". Last season, the team nominated him for the also-coveted Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, for his various charitable endeavors in the community. He's dabbled in charitable work with local youth, various 5K runs benefiting causes and is also known as one of the Bengals' team chaplains, along with running back Cedric Peerman.
This summer, Rey was incredibly busy with multiple endeavors between the team's minicamp and Training Camp. Our own Jason Marcum chronicled his charity tour this past July, which was a joy to see. It's been a feel-good week for Bengals players and their off-field news, with Rey's nomination and Wallace Gilberry's nice gesture to help out a local Cincinnati family for the holidays.
The winner of the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award will be announced at the now-annual "NFL Honors" show prior to the Super Bowl. The winner will receiving a trophy and $25,000 to donate to a charity of his choice. A committee will whittle down the list from 32 to eight, and then have the players vote for one of those final eight to be the winner.
The committee is comprised of former NFL players Karl Mecklenburg, Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, and former Cincinnati Bengals defensive back from the 1990s, Leonard Wheeler.