CHARLOTTE - Punter Johnny Hekker was named Carolina's nominee for the 2022 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, the NFL announced on Tuesday.
Each NFL team selected a nominee for the ninth annual award, which recognizes players who best demonstrate the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.
Two former Panthers (Teddy Bridgewater, 2020; Luke Kuechly, 2017) have won the award in the past.
Hekker currently leads the NFL with 26 punts inside the 20-yard line. His 43.5 net yards per punt currently ranks eighth in the NFL, and is on pace for the highest season average in franchise history.
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 in December.