On Tuesday, the NFL announced that Kansas City Chiefs' second-year linebacker Nick Bolton was the team's nominee for the 2022 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
The award, which a Chiefs player has never won, recognizes a player who displays outstanding sportsmanship on the field. Bolton is honored by the recognition and spoke to Wednesday's media about what the nomination means to him.
"I'm just happy to be in consideration with those guys across the league," Bolton said. "[There are] a lot of good guys out there and a lot of good football players out there so just being amongst those guys is special. I appreciate it so much and I'm thankful for my teammates for that."
Fresh off a dominant performance against the Los Angeles Chargers, Bolton reflected on the turnover he created on Sunday night.
"I don't think I've forced a turnover since I've been in the NFL, so it's kind of been a point of emphasis for me," recalled Bolton. "I get a lot of tackles, but I kind of want to change the game a little bit and try to give the ball to Patrick (Mahomes) as many times as possible."
In the win over the Chargers, Bolton credited the defensive line and his teammates for the "hell of a job" they did that helped lead the team to victory.
"[The defensive line was] creating pressures and making [Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert] kick it out," said Bolton. "Chris [Jones] got through, made [Herbert] get out the pocket, away from his throwing arm, Frank [Clark] got in his face and made him throw a high ball, [which] forced a turnover."
Speaking of Bolton's turnover, his first-career interception, he learned from his mistake last year after celebrating his first-career fumble recovery during the Denver Broncos game in 2021.
"I didn't do what I did in Denver; I kept it," said Bolton, as he smiled. "I [didn't] throw it in the stands. I definitely kept it."
As the Chiefs look to host the sputtering Los Angeles Rams, who are currently last in their division, it will be all hands on deck to ensure that the Rams don't sneak out a much-needed win this Sunday.
Bolton looks to continue to improve week after week and build on his successes this year.
"Every single day, I've just got to put my best foot forward every day," Bolton said. "I'm still growing, I'm still progressing and try to get better."
As Bolton continues to develop his skill set, he is both surprised by his immediate starting role with the Chiefs and also motivated by his draft position to prove his worth.
"I never thought that I would come in this early and just play," expressed Bolton. "I always had confidence in myself, I never thought I was the fifth linebacker in my class to come out, so that's kind of been my mindset. Not really proving anybody wrong, just proving myself right.”