It's an award that any NFL player would be proud of, but none would choose to endure.
Comeback player of the year.
The field is especially crowded this season, with an inordinate number of standout players returning from season-ending injuries, the type of infirmities that in another era would have terminated a career.
There's Peyton Manning, of course, the Denver Broncos quarterback who sat out his final season with the Indianapolis Colts and underwent four neck procedures. Five of the last six players to receive the award were quarterbacks — Chad Pennington (twice), Tom Brady, Michael Vick and Matthew Stafford.
But just as impressive is the unbelievably quick return of Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, who, in a game last Christmas Eve, suffered torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his knee. Eleven months later, he leads the NFL with 1,236 yards rushing — 172 more than second-place Arian Foster of Houston.