On Friday, the local chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) handed out two awards for the 2017 season: the “Player of the Year” and the “Dino Lucarelli ‘Good Guy Award’.”
Player of the Year
The Player of the Year honors went to RB Duke Johnson, which was the best selection in my opinion. Back in early November, I did power rankings on the Top 20 Browns based on performance. At the time, CB Jason McCourty and LT Joe Thomas were first and second on my list, with Johnson in third.
But McCourty’s play has fizzled over the past month, and Thomas has been out too long while Johnson has set a franchise record for most receptions (68) by a running back in a single season. He also leads the team with 6 total touchdowns.
Previous award winners include K Phil Dawson (2012), WR Josh Gordon (2013), LT Joe Thomas (2014), TE Gary Barnidge (2015), and LT Joe Thomas (2016).
Good Guy Award
The Good Guy Award went to LG Joel Bitonio, and “is given annually to a player for his cooperation with the media and the way he carries himself in the community and with teammates.” Bitonio has missed the end of the past couple of seasons to injury, so one positive note for 2017 is that he’s made it all the way through the same year he received a big contract extension from the club.
Previous award winners include LB D’Qwell Jackson (2012), LT Joe Thomas (2013), QB Brian Hoyer (2014), QB Josh McCown (2015), and LB Christian Kirksey (2016).
Both players reacted in the locker room to receiving the awards: