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NFL notebook

Another accolade for Brady

AP panel votes quarterback Offensive Player of the Year

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By Jim McBride
Globe Staff / February 2, 2011

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The accolades keep rolling in for Tom Brady, though it’s unlikely that the honors are of any consolation to the superstar quarterback, whose season ended unceremoniously when the Patriots were upset by the Jets in Foxborough in a divisional playoff game last month.

Brady last night was named Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year for the second time in his career. The 6-foot-4-inch, 225-pounder led the Patriots to a 14-2 record in the regular season. He established an NFL record with 335 pass attempts without an interception and had 11 consecutive starts without a pick, also an NFL record.

The two-time Super Bowl MVP garnered 21 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was second with 11.

Texans running back Arian Foster and Philip Rivers received seven votes each; followed by Falcons receiver Roddy White (five) and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson with two each.

Brady, a unanimous All-Pro selection, completed 324 of 492 passes for 3,900 yards and 36 touchdowns with just four interceptions. He was named to his sixth Pro Bowl, but didn’t play in the game because he had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot days after the loss to the Jets.

The injury, which was first reported in November shortly after the Patriots beat the Steelers, bothered Brady throughout the season but never enough to keep him out of the lineup.

If Brady has no setbacks in his recovery, he’ll be ready for training camp come July.

In an interview with the NFL Network last night, Brady said he was proud of winning the AFC East crown and of the way the Patriots came together in the second half of the season, particularly after the trade of Randy Moss.

“When you trade away a talent like that, a guy who is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, other guys have to step in and do their job and fill the void left by a great player,’’ Brady said. “BenJarvus [Green-Ellis] rushed for 1,000 yards, Danny Woodhead made up for the loss of Kevin Faulk, who is one of the best players we’ve ever had on the team.

“The group of receivers with Deion [Branch], Wes [Welker], Julian [Edelman] and Brandon Tate, they did an incredible job really committing themselves to the passing game.

“Obviously, the tight end position with two young tight ends, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski and then Alge [Crumpler], we had a group of skill players.

“It was a lot of fun each week trying to find different ways to utilize all of those guys so that we can go into the game feeling really good, feeling prepared with the game plan, and understand if we just executed well, we were going to score some points.’’

Brady is the odds-on favorite to take home his second Most Valuable Player award, which will be announced Sunday.

Brady was also the AP Offensive Player of the Year and MVP for the 2007 season when he led New England to a 16-0 regular-season record. That season also ended in disappointment for Brady and the Patriots when the Giants pulled off one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history.

A win-win? A special master has ruled on the NFL Players Association’s complaint that the league improperly negotiated TV contracts — and both sides are claiming victory.

The NFL said yesterday that Stephen Burbank rejected the union’s request that $4 billion in 2011 TV payments to the league be put in escrow in the event of a lockout.

The NFLPA said Burbank also awarded the union damages from the league because of violations in “the NFL’s negotiation of lockout insurance in its contracts with ESPN and NBC.’’

The union accused the NFL of structuring TV contracts so owners would be guaranteed money even if there were a lockout in 2011 — while not maximizing revenue from other seasons, when income would be shared with players.

The union said it will appeal Burbank’s ruling.

Griffen faces charges Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen was accused of assaulting a police officer and faces an NFL investigation after he was arrested during a traffic stop in Los Angeles. Los Angeles police said officers used a stun gun to subdue the 6-foot-3-inch, 275-pound Griffen during a struggle after he tried to flee. He was released from jail early yesterday on $50,000 bail and is due in court Feb. 25 . . . Punter Sam Koch has agreed to a five-year contract with the Ravens. Koch, a Pro Bowl alternate, averaged 43.6 yards per kick this season. Financial details were not available . . . The Titans interviewed offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger for their head coaching job. The team interviewed offensive line coach Mike Munchak Monday. “They gave me a chance to get in front of them,’’ Heimerdinger said. “That’s all I can ask for.’’ Heimerdinger, 58, had been in the news when diagnosed with cancer the day before Thanksgiving. But he didn’t miss a game as he went through chemotherapy. He wasn’t asked about his medical status during the interview, but said he is doing fine. “All my blood tests are good,’’ Heimerdinger said.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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