Friday, January 08, 2016
Kicker Phil Dawson #9 of the San Francisco 49ers scores a field goal against the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter of a preseason game | Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images
January 7, 2016
By David Barclay
49ers place kicker Phil Dawson has been named the 2015 Bill Walsh Award winner. The award, with voted tabulated by the teams coaching staff, is handed out annually to San Francisco's most valuable player—Dawson became the first 49ers kicker to win the award since 2005, when Joe Nedney was co-MVP with linebacker Derek Smith.
Dawson, who is scheduled to become a free agent this offseason, had an excellent year for the 49ers. He made 24 of 27 field goals, two of his misses were blocked kicks. He converted 20 of 21 extra point attempts as well. Thursday, Dawson reacted to the honor in a statement released through the 49ers website.
“Any award with Bill Walsh’s name attached to it is a big deal,” Dawson said in the statement. “In my three years in San Francisco, I’ve grown to learn even more about coach Walsh and respect him all the more. So that’s a tremendous honor in and of itself. But, then to consider that the coaches were the ones voting on this, just puts it over the top.
“In most places, the kicker is just kind of an afterthought or a necessary evil. I’ve always tried to just be a football player and just come to work and do my job. This means quite a bit given the fact that I am a kicker. There are certainly other guys on the team who are deserving and I hold them in high regard. So, when you mix all that together, it’s a pretty special deal.”
Wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who is also scheduled for free agency this year at age 35, received this year's Len Eshmont Award. Considered the most prestigious honor, the award is handed out to the player who best exemplifies inspiration and courage—it is voted on by the players. Additionally, Boldin was San Francisco's nominee for this year's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, for his commitment to the community and philanthropy.
“This really means a lot to me,” Boldin said in a statement. “Those are the guys that get a chance to see you everyday, day in and day out, get to see you put in work. So, it’s big to earn the respect of your peers and an honor that they voted me the winner.”
Left tackle Joe Staley was honored as this year's winner of the Bobb McKittrick Award winner for best representing the courage, intensity and sacrifice displayed by the long-time 49ers offensive line coach.
“It’s an honor to win the Bobb McKittrick Award,” Staley said. “It’s a very long standing tradition with what Bob McKittrick meant to this organization and coaching the offensive line. It stands for a lot.”
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman —who led the league in tackles his first season back from knee surgery— was honored with Ed Block Courage Award. The award is handed out by all 32 NFL teams, and is presented to the player who best exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage. A banquet is held each year for the 32 players honored with the award in Baltimore, Maryland.
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