February 7, 2016 / 3:52 AM / in 4 years

Panthers QB Newton named NFL's Most Valuable Player

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Quarterback Cam Newton was named the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player on Saturday at the NFL Honors show after a sensational season in which he led the Carolina Panthers to a near-perfect record.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton celebrates on the side lines during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship football game in Charlotte, North Carolina, in this file photo taken January 24, 2016. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports/Files

The 26-year-old Newton was a near unanimous choice for the NFL’s most prestigious honor, garnering 48 of the 50 votes with quarterbacks Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Carson Palmer of the Arizona Cardinals receiving one vote each.

Newton, who was not at the awards show since as he was preparing to face the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, was also named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year.

Playing in his fifth season, Newton topped all quarterbacks in the regular season with 45 touchdowns, including 35 touchdown passes and 10 rushing scores, in leading the Panthers to a league-best 15-1 record.

“It means so much, but not just for myself,” Newton said in a video acceptance speech for the MVP award. “To be the first person in Panthers history to win it, that’s what I’m most proud about.

“I’ve received a lot of awards, but to be able to get this organization here, I’m really proud. We didn’t get in this position by happenstance. It took years of hard work and dedication, and now we are reaping the benefits.”

Coach of the Year honors went to Newton’s Carolina mentor, Ron Rivera, for the second time in three seasons.

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was named Defensive Player of the Year for a third time after leading all defensive lineman in sacks, QB hits, tackles for loss and passes defensed.

“I was a two-star recruit coming out of high school. Now I have three of these,” he said, clutching his award. “So screw you guys that doubted me.”

Defensive Rookie of the Year was cornerback Marcus Peters of the Kansas City Chiefs, while running back Todd Gurley of the Rams was named Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Comeback Player of the Year was Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who battled back after being diagnosed in December 2014 with in December 2014 the All-Pro defensive back had Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Anquan Boldin, wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, received the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, given for having made a significant, positive impact on his community.

Editing by Frank Pingue

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