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Woodson, Megatron among award finalists

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POSTED December 15, 2015 1:25 a.m.

NEW YORK (AP) — Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson are among eight finalists for the NFL’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.

Joining the Raiders safety and Lions receiver are running backs Matt Forte of the Bears and Justin Forsett of the Ravens; linebacker Luke Kuechly of the Panthers; quarterback Matt Hasselbeck of the Colts; cornerback Jason McCourty of the Titans; and tackle Joe Staley of the 49ers.

Each NFL team nominated one of its players for the award, which recognizes NFL players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field. That group of 32 was reduced to the eight finalists by a panel of former players — Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler.

The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot for when players vote on Friday. Players can’t vote for a teammate.

The winner will be revealed Feb. 6 at the NFL Honors show when The Associated Press announces its individual award winners for the 2015 season.

Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald won the initial award, which was created last season in honor of the late founding owner of the Steelers.

This year’s winner will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.

Woodson is an 18-year veteran who has played with Oakland and Green Bay, winning a Super Bowl with the Packers. Woodson has 65 interceptions, tied for fifth most in NFL history.

Johnson, in his ninth pro season, ranks first in Lions history with 11,386 yards receiving and 81 touchdowns. He holds the NFL’s single-season record with 1,964 yards receiving during the 2012 season.

Hasselbeck is in his 17th NFL season. He also has been with Green Bay, Seattle and Tennessee and led the Seahawks to the NFC title in 2005.

Baltimore’s Forsett is an eight-year veteran currently on injured reserve. In 2014, he was the only player to rush for at least 1,200 yards and average 5.0 yards per carry.

Chicago’s Forté also is in his eighth season and ranks second to Walter Payton in Bears history with 8,425 yards rushing and has 475 receptions.

Carolina’s Kuechly, a fourth-year linebacker, became just the second player to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year (2012) and Defensive Player of the Year (2013) honors in consecutive seasons.

McCourty, a former team captain with the Titans, has led them in passes defensed (61) and is tied for second on the team with 11 interceptions and 426 solo tackles in his seven-year career.

Staley is a nine-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowler who has been the anchor of San Francisco’s offensive line.

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