Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald won the first Rooney award last year. The award was created in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
The winner will be determined by a vote of current NFL players after a panel of former players selects eight finalists, four from each conference. That panel is composed of Hall of Famer Curtis Martin, Warrick Dunn, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler.
Players will vote on Dec. 18, with each of the 32 teams submitting a consensus vote as its choice for the winner. But a team can't vote for a its own players.
The award will be presented during the "NFL Honors" show when The Associated Press announces the individual award winners for the 2015 season. That program takes place Feb. 6, the night before the Super Bowl.
The winner will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.
Raiders safety Woodson is in his 18th pro season; Chargers quarterback Rivers is in his 12th; and Lions receiver Johnson in his ninth.
Other longtime NFL players nominated include Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck (17th season), Packers LB Julius Peppers (14th), Browns QB Josh McCown (13th), Saints TE Benjamin Watson (12th), Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson (11th), Vikings LB Chad Greenway (10th), Eagles LB DeMeco Ryans (10th), Steelers CB William Gay (ninth) and 49ers T Joe Staley (ninth).
Remaining nominees are:
Cardinals DT Calais Campbell, Falcons CB Desmond Trufant, Ravens RB Justin Forsett, Bills QB Tyrod Taylor, Panthers LB Luke Kuechly, Bears RB Matt Forte, Bengals LB Vincent Rey, Cowboys LB Sean Lee, Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas, Texans T Duane Brown, Jaguars DT Sen'Derrick Marks, Dolphins DT Earl Mitchell, Patriots T Nate Solder, Giants RB Rashad Jennings, Jets LB David Harris, Seahawks WR Jermaine Kearse, Rams DT Aaron Donald, Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy, Titans CB Jason McCourty, and Redskins RB Alfred Morris.