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T.J. Edwards is the Bears nominee for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award

A cool honor for Chicago’s linebacker.

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images

Earlier this week, the NFL announced the 32 players that were nominated for the ninth annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, and the linebacker T.J. Edwards received the honor from the Chicago Bears.

Edwards is in his first year with the Bears after playing in Philadelphia from 2019 to 2022, and he’s made an immediate impact both on and off the field.

“He’s a leader on this team,” general manager Ryan Poles said via the team’s site. “I would define him by saying he’s a guy that just does everything the right way, and that’s why he’s a perfect candidate for this award.”

T.J. leads the Bears with 121 tackles in 11 games thus far, he has five tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and an interception.

The Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award recognizes players around the league who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field.

“This is really the first award I’ve received with this meaning behind it, so it’s cool,” Edwards said. “It’s not something that I’m looking for. I enjoy the game and I enjoy being out there with my brothers that I go to work with every day. It all goes so fast. I’m just trying to be in the moment and have as much fun as I can.

“I try to go about my business the right way. I get to play the game that I love every day, and it’s the biggest blessing in the world.”

After excelling as a quarterback at nearby Lakes Community High School (Lake Villa, IL), Edwards went on to the University of Wisconsin, where he thrived as a four-year starter in his new position on defense. The Eagles signed him as a UDFA, and on the first day of 2023 free agency, he signed a three-year deal with the team he grew up cheering for.


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.