FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons wide receiver Roddy White was voted the team’s Good Guy Award winner by the local chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America for the 2011 season.
It was a close vote between White and linebacker Curtis Lofton and safety Thomas DeDoud.
One voter pointed out that White is always available during open locker room session. White doesn’t care if the team has won or lost a big game, he makes it a point to be available to assist the media. Another voter noted that White is also open and colorful.
A plaque recognizing White will hang in the media room at Flowery Branch.
Numerous PFWA local chapters hand out Good Guy awards to players who show exceptional respect for fans by going above and beyond in cooperating with the media throughout the year. Here were some of them:
Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears was voted the team’s Good Guy Award winner. It was a close vote between Spears and tight end Jason Witten. As one voter pointed out, Spears was almost always the go-to guy in the locker room on Mondays, whether the team won or lost the previous day. He was there, ready with good quotes, on just about any other day, too.
Cleveland Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and defensive back Mike Adams each earned awards from the local PFWA chapter. Jackson was named the PFWA Player of the Year and Adams was named the PFWA Dino Lucarelli Good Guy Award winner. The pair will be honored at the 32th annual Akron Browns Backers banquet on May 21. Besides his cooperation with the media, Adams is very active in the Cleveland community and has a foundation called “Rising Stars” dedicated to improving living conditions for families in low-income areas.
In New York, receiver Victor Cruz won the 11th annual George Young Good Guy Award, as voted on by the Giants’ chapter of the PFWA. Cruz, in the midst of his sensational breakout season, was a constant presence in the locker room regardless of circumstances. And despite being in constant demand, he never turned down an interview request. Defensive end Dave Tollefson finished a close second in the voting and safety Antrel Rolle was third. In all, 13 players received votes from the members of the Giants’ media.
The Miami Dolphins’ press corps gave safety Yeremiah Bell a plaque for winning that team’s Good Guy Award. Bell has been great to deal with throughout his nine-year career, said Palm Beach Post Miami writer Ben Volin.
In Carolina, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn won the Tom Berry Good Guy award from the PFWA chapter. Munnerlyn, a third-year cornerback from South Carolina, was a unanimous selection among media members who cover the Panthers on a regular basis. The award is named for Tom Berry, the longtime Panthers beat writer for the High Point (N.C.) Enterprise. Berry passed away at the start of the 2009 season.
In Denver, PFWA members gave veteran cornerback Champ Bailey the Darrent Williams Good Guy Award, named for the late Broncos player. “Anything with Darrent’s name on it is special to me, because everybody knows what kind of player he was and what type of guy he was, so thanks a lot,” Bailey said.
In Baltimore, strong safety Bernard Pollard won the Good Guy Award. He said, “I guess it is the way I’ve been raised. I’m always going to be there to talk, to give you want you need. … This is the best team I’ve ever been on, and we’re excited to keep going.”
In Minnesota, Percy Harvin won the Korey Stringer Good Guy Award. Every year since 2001, the Vikings’ media corps has given the award in honor of the late Vikings lineman. “He stepped forward as a leader and he’s been available and accountable,” said Tom Pelissero, of 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog