Local Athletes Honored at NFL Awards

- The NFL and The Associated Press also handed out their postseason awards on the eve of Super Bowl 50.
   Cam Newton won the AP NFL Most Valuable Player award in a landslide, receiving 48 of 50 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who regularly cover the league.  The Carolina Panthers' All-Pro quarterback also earned NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors after setting an NFL mark for the position with 45 touchdowns this season, 35 passing and 10 rushing. He also ranked sixth with a 99.4 passer rating while throwing for 3,837 yards.
   Texans defensive end J.J. Watt took the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year award for the third time. Watt's superb fifth pro season for the AFC South champions included a league-high 17 1-2 sacks, eight passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
   Rams running back Todd Gurley is the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year after rushing for 1,106 yards. Gurley finished third in league rushing and scored 10 touchdowns despite missing the first two games of the season.
   Cornerback Marcus Peters took Defensive Rookie of the Year as he tied for the league lead with eight interceptions in helping the Chiefs make the playoffs.
   Kansas City safety Eric Berry is the NFL Comeback Player of the year. Berry became an All-Pro this season and missing 10 games in 2014 while battling lymphoma.
   Carolina's Ron Rivera has won The Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year award for the second time in three years. Rivera led the Panthers to an unprecedented third straight NFC South title and two playoff victories this year, putting the team in the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history.
   Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is the AP's NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.

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