NEW YORK (AP) — Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy and Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson won The Associated Press NFL awards as the top rookies for 2013.
They were the first two award winners during Saturday night’s NFL Honors show.
A second-round pick (61st overall) from Alabama, Lacy was a key performer in the Packers’ offense, particularly when star quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sidelined for seven games. He rushed for 1,178 yards on 284 carries (4.1 average), with 11 touchdowns. He also had 35 receptions.
That was good enough for 35 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league.
“I’m comfortable where I am, and my teammates believe in me, and they make me feel comfortable, so I’m able to play the way I’m capable of playing,” said Lacy, who beat out San Diego wide receiver Keenan Allen, who received 12 votes.
Richardson, the 13th overall pick in April’s draft on a selection acquired when New York traded star cornerback Darrelle Revis to Tampa Bay, won a close race over Buffalo linebacker Kiko Alonso. Richardson received 23 votes; Alonso, a second-round choice (46th overall), got 19 in balloting announced Saturday night.
Often double-teamed as the season wore on, Richardson made 42 tackles and had 3 1/2 sacks. He clogged the running lanes so effectively that the Jets ranked third against the run this season.
AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak Jr. and Pro Football Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this story.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org