Tight end DUSTIN KELLER of the New York Jets, fullback/linebacker SPENCER LARSEN of the Denver Broncos, cornerback DOMINIQUE RODGERS-CROMARTIE of the Arizona Cardinals, running back STEVE SLATON of the Houston Texans and running back JONATHAN STEWART of the Carolina Panthers are the finalists for DIET PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK honors for games played on November 13 - 17, the NFL announced today.
Fans can vote for one of these five players on NFL.com/rookies beginning Tuesday at 8am ET and ending on Friday at noon ET to determine the DIET PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK. The DIET PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK will be announced Friday afternoon on NFL.com/rookies.
In addition, for the fourth year, NFL fans may cast their votes for the DIET PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK using phones with Sprint wireless service - an opportunity available only to Sprint customers. This fast, convenient voting method involves texting the word PEPSI to short code 7777. Sprint customers will then receive an interactive text message that links fans to the ballot with the five finalists each week. Data and text messaging rates may apply.
After the regular season, five players will be nominated for Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Fans can vote for the winner on NFL.com/rookies throughout the month of January. The winner will be announced at a press conference at Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa Bay.
A closer look at the finalists:
- New York Jets’ DUSTIN KELLER made eight receptions for 87 yards including three in overtime to set up the winning field goal in the Jets’ 34 – 31 win against the New England Patriots on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football.
- Denver’s SPENCER LARSEN was the first player in team history to start the same game on offense (fullback) and defense (middle linebacker). He had seven tackles as Denver beat the Atlanta Falcons 24 – 20.
* - Larsen became the first player in the NFL to start the same game on offense and defense since Dec. 14, 2003, when Baltimore’s Orlando Brown started at both right tackle and defensive tackle at Oakland.
* - He joins CB/WR Deion Sanders (Dal., 5 Gms., ’96), CB/WR Champ Bailey (Was., vs. Bal., 10/15/00) and Brown as one of four players in the NFL since 1990 to start the same game on offense and defense.
- Arizona’s DOMINIQUE RODGERS-CROMARTIE had four tackles and two interceptions including one with just under two minutes remaining as the Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks 26 – 20.
- Houston’s STEVE SLATON rushed for 156 yards including a 71-yard touchdown in the Texans’ 33 – 27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
- Carolina’s JONATHAN STEWART rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts in the Panthers’ 31 – 22 victory over the Detroit Lions.
This is Pepsi’s seventh year as the official soft drink sponsor of the NFL and the fourth year that Diet Pepsi will present the NFL Rookie of the Week and NFL Rookie of the Year awards.