Brady's strong return from a left knee injury that sidelined him for all but the first quarter of the 2008 opener earned the Patriots quarterback the award Wednesday. One of football's biggest stars, Brady has gone from NFL Most Valuable Player in 2007, when he set several passing records, to sidelined to earning his second league award.
"I played 15 straight years without ever missing a game, high school or college or professional, so every time you walk off the field you feel very blessed," Brady said. "I think it was a great lesson, life experience, not only football experience, that I was able to have."
Brady received 19 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL, beating Tampa Bay running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, who got 14.
A three-time Super Bowl winner and a finalist for AP Player of the Decade, Brady led New England to a 10-6 record and the AFC East title this season. He threw for 4,398 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Most significantly, he got the Patriots back into the playoffs, and he showed more than a few glimpses of the player who guided the Patriots to the first 16-0 regular season in NFL history in 2007, throwing a record 50 touchdowns that year.
ROOKIE AWARD: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver/kick returner Percy Harvin ran away with the balloting for The Associated Press 2009 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award the same way he outran defenses and special teams this season.
Harvin received 41 votes from the nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league. Baltimore tackle Michael Oher was second with six votes.
A first-round draft pick, 22nd overall out of Florida, Harvin had 60 receptions for 790 yards and six touchdowns; rushed 15 times for 135 yards; and returned 42 kickoffs for 1,156 yards (27.5 per) and two touchdowns, one covering 101 yards.
He tied with the Colts' Austin Collie for most catches by a rookie.