CINCINNATI, Oh. - The Cincinnati Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America today named DT Geno Atkins as the Bengals’ 2012 Most Valuable Player and OT Andrew Whitworth as the recipient of the organization’s annual “Good Guy” award.
The voters are the beat writers who cover the team on a daily basis.
In his third season, Atkins has gained recognition as one of the NFL’s elite DTs, earning his second Pro Bowl spot and his first as a starter. His 12.5 sacks led all NFL interior linemen and was a team record for a Bengals defensive tackle, topping Dan Wilkinson’s 8.0 from 1996.
“Over the past two seasons, one of the constants of this team has been the performance of the defensive line, and the catalyst of the pass rush has been Atkins,” said PFWA spokesman Joe Reedy, Bengals beat writer for The Cincinnati Enquirer. “As defensive line coach Jay Hayes said earlier in the year, it's ‘freakish’ how he gets to the quarterback. Since coming into the league in 2010, Geno has been on a steady pace to becoming one of the top interior defensive linemen in the NFL.”
Whitworth, who played his seventh NFL season in 2012, is the 11th recipient of the PFWA’s “Good Guy” award, given for excellent relations with local media.
“Whit has always been one of the go-to guys in the locker room and has set an example as a team leader to help us bring our readers the information that they so strongly desire,” Reedy said. “His candor and perspective during the week and following games has been much appreciated. As a veteran and the team's NFLPA player rep, he has also been an invaluable resource on league matters.”
Whitworth is now the fourth Bengal to have won both the Good Guy and MVP awards. He was named MVP in 2010. Others to win both awards have been OT Willie Anderson, WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh and QB Carson Palmer.
Other past MVP winners were QB Jon Kitna (2002-03), HB Rudi Johnson (2004), Carson Palmer (2005), Willie Anderson (2006), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (2007-08), CBs Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph (2009), Whitworth (2010) and QB Andy Dalton (2011).
Past “Good Guy” winners have been FB Lorenzo Neal, Anderson, HB Brandon Bennett, LB Brian Simmons, DT John Thornton, Houshmandzadeh, DT Bryan Robinson, G Bobbie Williams, Palmer, HB Cedric Benson and S Chris Crocker.