Philip Rivers, in the midst of a potential NFL MVP season, was voted the Chargers’ Most Valuable Player by teammates. Rivers, who has thrown for a career-high 4,155 yards and 27 touchdowns, wins his second-consecutive team MVP award a day after being chosen to his second-career Pro Bowl squad.Offensive Player of the Year (Rodney Culver Memorial Award) honors will be split between tight end Antonio Gates and wide receiver Vincent Jackson. Both players are enjoying career seasons, with Gates gaining a career-high 1,145 yards and Jackson setting career highs in yards (1,167), catches (68) and touchdowns (nine). This is Gates’ third-career Rodney Culver Award (2004 & ’05) and Jackson’s first. Defensive Player of the Year (David Griggs Memorial Award) honors will be split between linebacker Shaun Phillips and cornerback Quentin Jammer. Phillips leads the NFL with seven forced fumbles and paces the team with seven sacks, while Jammer has broken up a team-leading 10 passes and is tied for the team lead with three interceptions. This the first David Griggs Award for both players. Special Teams Player of the Year honors go to wide receiver and special teams ace Kassim Osgood, a 2009 Pro Bowl choice, who ranks second on the team with 12 stops. Routinely harassed by double and triple-teams, Osgood is headed to his third-career Pro Bowl. This is his fourth special teams player of the year award (2005-07). Lineman of the Year honors go to left tackle Marcus McNeill, who is charged with protecting the blind-side of Rivers. McNeill hasn’t missed a start all season and is a key member of the line which has allowed only 10 sacks during the team’s current 10-game winning streak. Overlooked for the Pro Bowl, McNeill captures his second-career lineman of the year award (2006). Linebacker Stephen Cooper, the team’s leading tackler with 119 stops on the season, receives the Emil Karas Award as Most Inspirational Player. At one of the most physically demanding positions on the field, Cooper has played more snaps this season (928) than any other defender and ranks second on the team with seven passes broken up. He’s also forced and recovered two fumbles.
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