Steelers Harrison Named AP Defensive Player of the Year

Steelers Harrison Named AP Defensive Player of the Year
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PITTSBURGH — *The outstanding play of Steelers outside linebacker
James Harrison was rewarded today when he was named theAssociated Press Defensive Player of the Yearfor the 2008 Season. Harrison is the fifth Steeler overall and the first since 1993 to receive the award, annually given to the NFL's top defensive player.
 
Harrison, the first undrafted player to receive the award, set a Steelers record with 16 quarterback sacks this season while also recording a league-leading seven forced fumbles. He finished the regular season with 100 tackles (68 solo), an interception and 34 quarterback pressures en route to earning the nod as a starter for the AFC's Pro Bowl squad for the second consecutive season. Harrison's outstanding performance was also recognized by his teammates who voted him Steelers Most Valuable Player for the second straight season.
 
Harrison helped the Steelers lead the NFL in total defense, pass defense and scoring defense, and finish second in defending the run and sacks. He joins former Steelers
Rod Woodson(1993),Jack Lambert(1976),Mel Blount(1975) andJoe Greene(1972 and 1974) as the only players in team history to win the AP award, which was first given out in 1971.
 
Following are highlights from James Harrison's 2008 season:
 
·         AFC Pro Bowl starter for the second consecutive season
·         Team MVP for the second consecutive season
·         AFC Defensive Player of the Week (Week 11)
·         Established a career high with 100 tackles (68 solo)
·         Two-Time GMC Sierra Defensive Player of the Week (Weeks 11 and 13)
·         Had a career-high 16 sacks, breaking Mike Merriweather's (1984) team record of 15
·         Led the NFL with a career-high seven (7) forced fumbles, the most since Greg Lloyd had seven (7) in 1994
·         Combined with LaMarr Woodley to post 27.5 sacks, the most by a duo in club history
·         Led the team with 34 quarterback pressures, 14 more than second-place finisher LaMarr Woodley
·         Established a personal single-game high with 11 tackles (eight solo) versus the Colts on Nov. 9
·         Had four games with two (2) or more sacks (three on 9/7 vs. Houston, 2.5 on 9/29 vs. Baltimore, three on 10/19 at Cincinnati, and three on 11/30 at New England)
·         Had a sack/forced fumble which led to a safety versus San Diego on Nov. 16. Also had an interception deep in Pittsburgh territory that stopped a potential San Diego scoring drive
·         Forced two fumbles versus New England on 11/30
·         14 of his 16 sacks came in Steelers' victories
·         Had seven (7) or more tackles in nine of 15 games played
·         Recorded a sack in 10 out of the 15 games that he played
·         Defense held opponents under 300 total yards in 15 of 16 games
·         Defense did not allow a single 100-yard rusher or 300-yard passer in 2008
·         Defense allowed only five (5) runs of 15 yards or more
·         Finished tied for third on the team with Patrick Bailey with 12 special teams tackles
 
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