Frank Ragnow

Frank Ragnow shares a laugh with Chaska Middle School East employee Rhonda Miller last April. Ragnow donated $3,000 toward the Angel Fund at the beginning of the pandemic to help feed students throughout Eastern Carver County Schools.

The 32 players nominated for the seventh annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award have been finalized, the NFL announced Thursday.The nominees include Victoria native and Chanhassen High School graduate Frank Ragnow of the Detroit Lions.

Each NFL team nominated one player for the award, which recognizes players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field.

The award was created in 2014 in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney, Sr.

A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community -- Warrick Dunn, Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg 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 on Friday, Dec. 18.

The award is presented each year to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.

Along with the many charities and organizations he supports, last spring Ragnow donated $30,000 to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Arkansas, where he went to college, Ragnow made $5,000 donations to the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank and the University of Arkansas’ Full Circle Food Pantry.

In Detroit, he donated $10,000 to Gleaners Community Food Bank, a gift spurred by a fundraiser started by Lions running backs coach Kyle Caskey. Ragnow’s donation helped provide 60,000 meals across southeast Michigan.

In Minnesota, he donated $7,000 to the PRISM Marketplace Food Shelf, a nonprofit group that helps homeless and hungry families in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Additionally, he supported the Angel Fund in Eastern Carver County Schools, donating $3,000 to provide meals to students.

Other notable names are former Viking quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (Carolina), Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay), Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City), Ezekiel Elliot (Dallas), Khalil Mack (Chicago), and Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota).

The winner will be announced as part of NFL Honors. He will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.

Past winners included Adrian Peterson in 2019 and the initial award winner, Larry Fitzgerald, in 2014.

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