- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Patriots owner Robert Kraft is a finalist for the Halas Award, presented annually by the Pro Football Writers of America. The Halas Award goes to the NFL person (player, coach, owner, etc.) who has performed with abandon despite personal challenges off the field.
In announcing the finalists to its members Wednesday, the Pro Football Writers of America wrote this about Kraft:
Lost his wife, Myra, to a battle with cancer on July 20. Kraft played an instrumental role in resolving the NFL's collective bargaining dispute and shuttled back and forth between labor talks and his wife's hospital bed throughout the spring and summer. His Patriots advanced to their sixth Super Bowl in his tenure as owner.
The other candidates:
Browns LB D'Qwell Jackson -- Missed 10 games in 2009 because of a torn right pectoral muscle and missed all of the 2010 season with a torn left pectoral muscle. He came back to start all 16 games in 2011 and led the Browns with 158 tackles, second most in the league.
49ers QB Alex Smith -- Rebounded from a 2010 season in which he was 3-7 as a starter and suffered a shoulder injury. Revived his career and quarterbacked the Niners to a 13-3 record.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford -- Came back from a 2010 season in which he played just three games due to injury. Started all 16 games, passed for more than 5,000 yards and helped the Lions to a playoff berth for the first time in 12 years.