Today's Paper Latest Coronavirus The Article Core Values Story ideas iPad Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive
ADVERTISEMENT

Packers' Rodgers named NFL MVP for 3rd time

by The Associated Press | February 7, 2021 at 3:24 a.m.
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) carries the ball against Baltimore Ravens free safety DeShon Elliott (32) in the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

A pair of Aarons pulled off an NFL hat trick Saturday night.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers earned his third Associated Press Most Valuable Player award, while Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald took his third top defensive player prize at NFL Honors.

Also taking home awards were two members of the Washington Football Team: quarterback Alex Smith was the Comeback Player of the Year in one of the most inspirational stories of 2020, and edge rusher Chase Young got the top defensive rookie.

Titans 2,000-yard rusher Derrick Henry won Offensive Player of the Year, and the offensive rookie honor went to Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. Cleveland's Kevin Stefanski was the Coach of the Year, and Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll earned assistant coach honors.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his work in the community.

Rodgers had perhaps the best season of his 16-year career, leading Green Bay to a 13-3 regular season, the NFC's best mark. Just a few months after questions arose about his comfort level with the Packers -- and their choosing a quarterback in the first round of April's draft -- Rodgers, who turned 37 in December, tore up the NFL.

Rodgers topped the league with 48 touchdown passes, completion rate (70.7%) and a 121.5 rating. He was picked off just five times.

"It is really special to have won it in my fourth year as a starter and now to win it in my 13th year as a starter in a new offense is pretty amazing and something I am very proud of," Rodgers said. "To have sustained success and be able to play your best football at 37 in my 16th season is something I take a lot of pride in."

Donald, the Los Angeles Rams' unanimous All-Pro, added the 2020 top defensive player honor to his wins in 2017 and 2018. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor (1981, '82, '86) and Houston edge rusher J.J. Watt (2012, '14, '15) have earned the award three times.

"You just named two great defensive players," he said, "so any time your name is mentioned with greats, you will be honored -- especially there's only a few that have accomplished that. To be the third to do it that is truly a blessing. It shows the body of work that I have; anytime your hard work is rewarded you are going to be happy about that. It is just a blessing."

The 36-year-old Smith completed a remarkable comeback from a broken right leg that required 17 surgeries to repair. Smith stepped in to start eight games before a strained right calf in the same leg sidelined him for the postseason spot he helped the team secure.

Everyone across the league cited Smith as an inspiration.

"It is humbling when I hear that," Smith said. "I know for how long I spent thinking about and looking at the men and women who inspired me. I am stuck in the hospital bed, stuck in a wheelchair, spent countless hours googling and looking at videos of our service men and women going through the same rehab as I went through. ...

"So there were definitely people in front of me that I am so thankful for that allowed me to go down this path. And obviously I am humbled and I guess you hope that you can kind of be a link in that chain for anybody coming behind you."

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert throws a pass over Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Mike Danna (51) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert throws a pass over Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Mike Danna (51) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
FILE - Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith warms up before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia, in this Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, file photo. Washington’s biggest offseason need is to figure out its quarterback situation. Trade for DeShaun Watson? Sign Cam Newton? Roll with Alex Smith and Kyle Allen? Coach Ron Rivera says “nothing is off the table.” (AP Photo/Chris Szagola, File)
FILE - Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith warms up before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia, in this Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, file photo. Washington’s biggest offseason need is to figure out its quarterback situation. Trade for DeShaun Watson? Sign Cam Newton? Roll with Alex Smith and Kyle Allen? Coach Ron Rivera says “nothing is off the table.” (AP Photo/Chris Szagola, File)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers pumps his fist after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers defeated the Rams 32-18 to advance to the NFC championship game. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers pumps his fist after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers defeated the Rams 32-18 to advance to the NFC championship game. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald smiles as he stands on the sideline late in the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund)
Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald smiles as he stands on the sideline late in the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund)
FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2019, file photo, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll watches the team warm up for an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Orchard Park, N.Y.    The likelihood of Daboll staying in Buffalo for at least more season have increased after he was passed over in filling the Los Angeles Chargers coaching job, two people with direct knowledge of Daboll's plans told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2019, file photo, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll watches the team warm up for an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Orchard Park, N.Y. The likelihood of Daboll staying in Buffalo for at least more season have increased after he was passed over in filling the Los Angeles Chargers coaching job, two people with direct knowledge of Daboll's plans told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski looks on during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski looks on during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Washington Football Team's Chase Young reacts after an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Washington Football Team's Chase Young reacts after an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT