The Associated Press won't name its NFL Defensive Player of the Year until the eve of the Super Bowl on Feb. 4. But in the meantime, Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs continues to get recognition elsewhere for a fine regular season.
On Tuesday, a day after Pro Football Weekly named him its 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, it was announced that he will be honored as a winner of one of the annual NFL 101 awards. Suggs was selected in voting by national media as NFL 101's AFC Defensive Player of the Year. Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, one of Suggs' competitors for the AP's award, was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year.
Suggs, an AP first-team All-Pro, established a new career high with 14 sacks during the regular season and his seven forced fumbles were a Ravens record. He was thrice named the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week (Weeks 1, 12 and 14) and was the AFC's Defensive Player of the Month for December and January. He was selected to his fifth Pro Bowl -- the first time in his career that he made it in consecutive seasons.
Suggs has been repeatedly asked what it would mean to be named the AP Defensive Player of the Year, but he has usually brushed aside those questions, saying he is focused on winning a Lombardi Trophy.
"It definitely would be an honor, but I am in it for the overall No. 1 goal. At the end of the year, we'll see where we all land," Suggs told reporters in late December. "To add that along with some hardware, I think that'd be great. But if you ask me between the two, I would rather take the hardware."
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, whom Suggs hopes to get familiar with in Sunday's AFC championship game, was named the AFC's Offensive Player of the Year by the NFL 101 award voters.