Pittsburgh Steelers OLB Alex Highsmith is in the midst of his best season as a pro, recording 37 total tackles, eight TFLs, nine sacks, and three forced fumbles. However, while his performance on the field has been a big talking point with Steelers fans and NFL analysts alike, his character on the field as well has drawn recognition from his peers.
Highsmith has been nominated by the rest of his teammates as the Steelers’ choice for the eighth annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. This award recognizes players around the league who “exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field.” It was created in 2014 to honor Art Rooney Sr., the late founder and owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
The committee that has the task of narrowing down the 32 semifinals from each NFL franchise to eight finalists for the award is made up of former players who represented the qualities the award is supposed to represent. A few of the former players that are on the committee include RB Warrick Dunn, WR Larry Fitzgerald, RB Curtis Martin, and FB Leonard Wheeler.
This comes as a big honor for Highsmith who is just in his third NFL season. He has been a hard worker ever since entering the league as a third-round draft pick out of Charlotte, working is way as a developmental backup behind OLB Bud Dupree into a quality running mate opposite T.J. Watt. While Highsmith is a talented player, he is an even better person, carrying himself with class and humility as he consistently looks to improve.
Seeing as Pittsburgh has former Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee DL Cam Heyward also on the roster as well as players like Watt, S, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and others who are more than deserving of such an award, it speaks volumes to how Highsmith is viewed in the locker room and the leader he has become to the team thanks to his play as well as the way he conducts himself in terms of sportsmanship and passion he plays the game with.