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:
· Denver's Elvis Dumervil recorded three tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery in the Broncos' 17-7 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Following a two-sack performance last week against Oakland, Dumervil recorded his second consecutive multi-sack game. He now has five sacks this season, second-most among NFL rookies.
· Miami's Derek Hagan caught five passes for 53 yards and one touchdown in the Dolphins' 34-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Early in the fourth-quarter, Hagan caught his first career NFL touchdown, a 13-yard strike from Joey Harrington to help bring the Dolphins within three points, 27-24.
· Green Bay's A.J. Hawk recorded nine solo tackles, three assisted tackles and one sack in the Packers' 34-24 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Hawk led Green Bay with 12 total tackles and currently ranks second on the team with 43 tackles this season. His 2.5 sacks are tied for second on the team.
· Houston's Wali Lundy carried 19 times for 93 yards and one touchdown in Houston's 27-7 victory over the AFC South-rival Jacksonville Jaguars. Lundy, who added four catches for 15 yards, scored his first career NFL touchdown on two-yard run in the fourth quarter to extend Houston's lead to 17-7.
· The New York Jets' Leon Washington carried 20 times for 129 yards and two touchdowns in the Jets' 31-24 victory over the Detroit Lions. Washington, who averaged over six yards per carry, had a long run of 23 yards and scored on touchdown runs of five yards in the first quarter and 16 yards in the fourth quarter.
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.