Washington Redskins' running back Adrian Peterson has won the 2019 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
This marks the first time a Redskins player has received this award. Although, it is important to note that the award category was created in 2015 only and has not seen a player from the same team win the award more than once. The award is given to an NFL player who "demonstrates on the field the qualities of great sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for opponents, and integrity in competition." Peterson certainly fits that category and is highly considered one of the most respected players in the NFL.
After all, Peterson has had a long journey in the 13 seasons he has played in the NFL. Drafted in 2007 by the Minnesota Vikings, Peterson played for the Vikings till 2016. During his time there, he was immediately one of the best running backs the league had seen in a long time. He earned himself 7 Pro Bowl selections, 2012 NFL MVP, 2012 Offensive Player of the Year, 2007 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and several rushing yards and touchdown records. Unfortunately, several injuries forced the Vikings to let go of him.
He signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2017, only to be traded to the Arizona Cardinals before getting injured there as well. Most fans believed it was time for him to hang the cleats up after his injuries and given his age, but he got a call from the Washington Redskins and signed with the team in August of 2018. The team had lost their rookie running back for the season due to an injury. But who knew that Peterson would play like the vintage player he was back in Minnesota. In the 2018 season, Peterson racked up 1,042 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns. He resigned with the Redskins in 2019, finishing the season with 898 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns.
Nonetheless, there is no one more than Peterson who deserves the award. He is a veteran who has a huge impact on young running back in the NFL who seek guidance from him, such as New York Giants' Saquon Barkley. He may be a tough player, but has a gentle heart for those around him and who support him.