Panthers' Kuechly named Defensive Player of Year
Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly was named The Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year on Saturday night.
The honor adds to his top defensive rookie award of 2012.
Kuechly received 19 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the leaguet. He beat out Indianapolis All-Pro linebacker Robert Mathis, who earned 11 1/2 votes.
Kuechly had 96 tackles for a defense ranked only behind the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. He also had four interceptions, two sacks, eight passes defensed.
Seahawks safety Earl Thomas received 7 1/2 votes and Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman had 4 votes.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is expected to add to his NFL record with a fifth NFL MVP Award.
Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera took his team to division champion this season, earning him the Coach of the Year award. The Panthers went 12-4 to take the NFC South and get a first-round playoff bye. They lost to San Francisco in the divisional round.
Rivera received 21 1/2 votes, outdistancing Kansas City's Andy Reid, who got 13 1/2 votes after his first season with the Chiefs.
Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy was named The Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Quarterback Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers won the 2013 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.
Lacy ran for 1,178 yards in 15 games after being selected by the Packers in the second round.
Lacy out wide receiver Keenan Allen of the Chargers and running back Giovani Bernard of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Richardson ended up compiling 3 1/2 sacks and 77 total tackles for the Jets. He beat out the Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso, Carolina Panthers defensive end Star Lotulelei and Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu for the award.
Rivers completed a 69.5 percent of his passes during the year, leading the NFL as the Chargers made the playoffs.
In 2011 and 2012, Rivers combined to throw for 35 interceptions. In 2013 h threw 32 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions.
Rivers beat out cornerback Darrelle Revis of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and running back Knowshon Moreno of the Broncos for the award.
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