BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – A day after the Pro Bowl selections were announced, the local chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) announced their annual award winners Thursday.
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and kicker Phil Dawson were both honored.
Dawson was named the PFWA Player of the Year and Jackson was named the PFWA Dino Lucarelli Good Guy Award winner.
“You chose wisely, I would say,” coach Pat Shumrur said.
In typical fashion, Dawson was appreciative yet humble when told of the honor.
“Ya’ll are desperate. Golly,” Dawson said with a laugh. “That’s humbling. I was very excited when I got here this season. I changed up some stuff this past offseason and I felt like things were lined up where I had at least given myself a chance to have a good season and was eager to see how all that, the training and all the stuff I had done, the kicking lessons I had received, all that stuff. I was eager to see how that would show up on the field. After about a week of training camp, I can remember going to my coach and saying this might be a pretty good year. Things started just kind of going and great teammates around me.
“Momentum can be a great and a horrible thing and when you’ve got it on your side, it just kind of keeps going. Here we are and it’s just been one of those great experiences.”
The Good Guy Award is given to a player for his cooperation with the media and for the way he carries himself in the community and with his teammates and there was no one better to get it than Jackson who makes himself available 2-3 times a week for interviews – win or lose.
“It means a lot,” Jackson said. “I want to give you guys as much information as I can, as I’m allowed to. It’s great. I understand you guys have a job to do, we all did. We all do. We’re all working for a common goal here. And it’s great to be acknowledged with it as a good guy.”
Early Ending: Safety T.J. Ward’s season ended prematurely for the second straight year after he sustained a knee injury during the 38-21 loss to the Washington Redskins Dec. 16.
“Technically it’s just a bone bruise,” Ward said. “It happened on the play toward the sidelines. I collided with the running back (Alfred Morris). It was a big hit. I don’t know what happened exactly, but my knee got hit and that was it. No surgery.”
Ward added that if the injury had occurred earlier in the season, he would have avoided injured reserve but the team needed his roster spot with his inability to play the final 2 games.
“Whenever you don’t have to have surgery, it’s a blessing,” Ward said. “I missed these last 2 games, and that’s unfortunate but I’ll be good in the next week or two and I won’t miss out on any training. I’ll be back for OTAs, and training camp and everything. Not having surgery is big. But missing these last two games really hurts a lot, regardless if there’s anything at stake or not. I was looking forward to playing a full 16 games. Things happen. This is a physical game, especially the way I play. It just happened.
“Sometimes the dice doesn’t roll your way.”
Ward, who was selected by the Browns in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft, missed the final 8 games of the 2011 season due to a foot sprain.
Injury Report: Did Not Practice – CB Sheldon Brown (head/foot), TE Jordan Cameron (head), QBs Brandon Weeden (shoulder) and Colt McCoy (shoulder) and RB Trent Richardson (ankle).
Limited Participation – KR Josh Cribbs (knee), Ishmaa’ily Kitchen (calf), DL Juqua Parker (knee), DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/hamstring) and LT Joe Thomas (back).
Full Participation – S Tashaun Gipson (foot), DT OL John Greco (thumb), DT John Hughes (back) and TE Alex Smith (illness).