NFC South: Halas Award

I just sent in my final ballot for the Pro Football Writers of America annual awards and it’s fair to say there were a number of NFC South votes on there.

The ballot had been narrowed down to five finalists for each award. I had made an NFC South nomination in each of the five categories and I do have to admit I’m a little disappointed that former Tampa Tribune sports editor Tom McEwen was not a finalist for the McCann Award and former Carolina fullback Brad Hoover didn’t make the final cut for the Good Guy Award. I had nominated both and felt very strongly about those nominations.

Anyway, we’ll move on to the people who are finalists for each of the awards. Tampa Bay running back Cadillac Williams, who has overcome two major knee injuries, is a finalist for the Halas Award, which is given to the person who overcomes the most adversity.

Atlanta’s top-notch public relations staff of Reggie Roberts, Frank Kleha, Matt Conti and Brian Cearns is a finalist for the Rozelle Award, for the league’s most helpful PR staff, for the second straight year.

Longtime New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Peter Finney is a finalist for the McCann Award, which goes to a writer for long-term contributions to the business. That helped me absorb the McEwen blow. Finney is to New Orleans what McEwen is to Tampa Bay -- a sports face of the area. McEwen gave me my first job in the business, so I’m admittedly partial. But I’ve gotten to know Finney through the years and he’s a fine gentleman and a very worthy candidate.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees is a finalist for the Good Guy Award, which goes to the player who does the most to help the media do its job. No argument against Brees. One other thing on Brees I should share with you: A lot of times, the media might paint a guy to be better than he is just because he can throw a football -- or run fast or whatever. But Brees is one of those guys who is every bit as good of a person as you'd imagine.

There is no NFC South tie to the five finalists for the Horrigan Award, which goes to a person who is not a player or public relations worker, who does the most to help the media do its job. I made a nomination for a certain NFC South executive. He didn’t make the cut, so I won’t name him. He’d be embarrassed (and turn red) anyway because he doesn’t like attention.

Mailbags on the way

April, 28, 2009
4/28/09
11:35
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

I had planned to start the morning off with team-by-team mailbags, but we had a sudden flurry of news around the division with the Saints releasing Brian Young, the Falcons making some roster moves and Tampa Bay kicker Matt Bryant winning the Halas Award from the Professional Football Writers of America.

Now that we're all caught up on that, I'm going to jump into the mailbag. I have (randomly) decided to start off with the Carolina Panthers. I'll be back in a bit.

Bryant wins Halas Award

April, 28, 2009
4/28/09
11:03
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

The Professional Football Writers of America have just announced their annual awards and Tampa Bay kicker Matt Bryant has won the Halas Award.

That honor goes to the player or coach who has "performed with abandon despite injury or personal problems off the field." Bryant certainly fit the profile on that one. His infant son died unexpectedly in the middle of last season, yet Bryant continued to kick well and hit a game-winning field goal just days after his son's funeral.

Bryant joins some excellent company. Here's a look at past winners of the Halas Award:

1970 - Joe Namath, New York Jets

1971 - Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears

1972 - Tom Dempsey, New Orleans Saints

1973 - Jimmy Johnson, San Francisco 49ers

1974 - Mike Tilleman, Atlanta Falcons

1975 - Dick Butkus, Chicago Bears

1976 - Billy Kilmer, Washington Redskins

1977 - Tom DeLeone, Cleveland Browns

1978 - Pat Fischer, Washington Redskins

1979 - Bert Jones, Baltimore Colts

1980 - Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys

1981 - Rolf Benirschke, San Diego Chargers

1982 - Joe Klecko, New York Jets

1983 - Eddie Lee Ivery, Green Bay Packers

1984 - Ted Hendricks, Los Angeles Raiders

1985 - John Stallworth, Pittsburgh Steelers

1986 - Gary Jeter, Los Angeles Rams

1987 - William Andrews, Atlanta Falcons

1988 - Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers

1989 - Karl Nelson, New York Giants

1990 - Tim Krumrie, Cincinnati Bengals

1991 - Dan Hampton, Chicago Bears

1992 - Mike Utley, Detroit Lions

1993 - Mark Bavaro, Cleveland Browns

1994 - Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers

1995 - Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins

1996 - Larry Brown, Oakland Raiders

1997 - Jim Harbaugh, Indianapolis Colts

1998 - Mark Schlereth, Denver Broncos

1999 - Dan Reeves, Atlanta Falcons

2000 - Bryant Young, San Francisco 49ers

2001 - Kerry Collins, New York Giants

2002 - Garrison Hearst, San Francisco 49ers

2003 - Robert Edwards, Miami Dolphins

2004 - Sam Mills, Carolina Panthers

2005 - Mark Fields, Carolina Panthers

2006 - Tony Dungy, Indianapolis Colts

2007 - Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

2008 – Kevin Everett, Buffalo Bills

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