The Cleveland Browns are known for their power run game. After last season, the Browns offensive line was considered Top-3.
One of the main reasons is because of left guard Joel Bitonio. The rock and leader of this group were nominated Wednesday for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award and will represent Cleveland. All 32 clubs have a single player that they have selected.
Bitonio has shown that the Browns are a huge part of the community as he has exhibited himself well on and off the field. The stalwart of the offensive line is Bitonio. He has already earned five straight trips to the Pro Bowl and will need a bigger bookcase to house all of his hardware as he is currently playing for what should be his sixth.
The long-time left guard has also been named First Team All-Pro three years and Second Team All-Pro twice.
Bitonio is a former second-round pick of the Browns in 2014 and is the longest-tenured player.
The Art Rooney Award is one of the four non-performance-based awards handed out annually at the NFL Honors in February. It was first introduced to the awards slate in 2014, with former Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald taking home the inaugural prize.
The award was created in 2014 to honor the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers Art Rooney, Sr. Rooney’s Pittsburgh franchise began in 1933 as the Pirates. He has been instrumental in many changes involved with the league up until his death in 1988. He was often a mediator in owner’s meetings and was considered to be fair and unbiased. Rooney was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1964.
The recipient of this award is determined by the players. 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. RB Nick Chubb was last year’s nominee.
Four offensive players have won the award along with three defensive players and one special teamer.
The purpose of an award such as this is to promote good sportsmanship in a violent world that is called professional football. Qualities of on-field sportsmanship, fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition, are essential in growing the game.
The 32 player nominees for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award have been finalized. Here is the list: pic.twitter.com/NbqYuaEL9c— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 22, 2023
Players nominated in the AFC North include WR Tyler Boyd - Cincinnati, former Brown DT Larry Ogunjobi - Pittsburgh, and another former Brown OG Kevin Zeitler - Baltimore.
The winner will be revealed as part of “NFL Honors” before Super Bowl LVIII and receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.
No Browns player has ever won this prestigious award.