Wide receiver MARQUES COLSTON of the New Orleans Saints, running back LAURENCE MARONEY of the New England Patriots, cornerback RICHARD MARSHALL of the Carolina Panthers, running back JERIOUS NORWOOD of the Atlanta Falcons and defensive end MARIO WILLIAMS of the Houston Texans are the finalists for DIET PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK honors for games played on October 1-2, the NFL announced today.
Fans can vote for one of these five players on NFL.com beginning Tuesday at 9am EST and ending Thursday at 5pm EST to determine the DIET PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK. The DIET PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK will be announced Thursday evening on NFL.com.
In addition, for the second 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 and via Sprint wireless service throughout the month of January. The winner will be announced at a press conference at Super Bowl XLI in South Florida.
A closer look at the finalists:
- New Orleans' Marques Colston caught five passes for 132 yards and one touchdown in the Saints' 21-18 loss to the NFC South division-rival Carolina Panthers. Colston scored on an 86-yard touchdown reception with 1:15 left in the game. He has three touchdowns in four career NFL games.
- New England's Laurence Maroney carried 15 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns in the Patriots' 38-13 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Maroney, whose longest carry was 41 yards, scored on touchdown runs of 11 and 25 yards, giving him three rushing touchdowns on the season.
- Carolina's Richard Marshall started his first career NFL game and registered 11 tackles, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery in the Panthers' 21-18 victory over the NFC South-rival New Orleans Saints. Marshall's fumble recovery halted a Saints drive deep in Carolina territory early in the second quarter.
- Atlanta's Jerious Norwood carried six times for 106 yards and one touchdown in the Falcons' 32-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Norwood scored his first career NFL touchdown on a 78-yard run in the fourth quarter to put Atlanta in front 29-10. He has 217 rushing yards through four games.
- Houston's Mario Williams recorded two tackles and 1.5 sacks in the Texans' 17-15 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Williams registered his first NFL sack early in the fourth quarter with Houston leading 10-6. He recorded a half sack on the next play, forcing Miami into a third-and-20 situation, which it did not convert.
This is Pepsi's fifth year as the official soft drink sponsor of the NFL and the second year that Diet Pepsi will present the NFL Rookie of the Week and NFL Rookie of the Year awards.