Steelers linebacker James Harrison got rewarded today for his record breaking season, as he was named by the AP as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The linebacker had a career-high 16 sacks, set a team record, and led the NFL with a career-high seven forced fumbles.
He beat Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters announced Monday. Pittsburgh defense was the league’s stingiest in total defense, pass defense and points allowed. Harrison was its main hammer. “
That’s something that everybody in the league would love to have, to be voted the top player in the league for that year,” Harrison said. “In my mind, I think I do—and it’s going to sound boring—what the defense allows me to do and what my teammates allow me to do.”
Harrison is their first defensive player of the year since Rod Woodson in 1993. He is the fifth Steelers player to win the award. Every other Steelers player is in the Hall of Fame (Joe Greene, Mel Blount, Jack Lambert) except Woodson, who likely will be voted in next month.