Saturday, February 1, 2014

Richardson edges Alonso for Defensive ROY


Six of one and half dozen of the other.

The NFL's annual Rookie of the Year honor, as voted by the Associated Press, came down to an AFC East showdown between New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso.

It could've went either way. And the winner fully recognized that.

"I was surprised," Richardson said after being named the league's best freshman defender, via Newsday. "It was a toss-up to me. It was a tight race."

Like Richardson, Alonso also took the humble approach.

"It’s a tremendous honor to even be up for a prestigious award like this," he said, via The Buffalo News.

As a linebacker, Alonso had the obvious edge statistically, tallying 159 tackles, four interceptions, two sacks and a forced fumble. Richardson, the centerman of a 3-4 defensive front, was good for 77 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

But Richardson's emergence as one of the league's top run-stuffers and his significant role as the anchor of arguably the NFL's best defensive line apparently gave him the edge.

And for style points, Richardson did notch a pair of rushing touchdowns in his rookie campaign. He was the first defensive lineman since former Chicago Bears big man William "The Fridge" Perry to do so, a feat Perry accomplished in 1985.

"With Rex [Ryan], just knowing how to put us in position to make plays and letting me be me, not putting shackles on my talent," Richardson said.

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