Young garners top two team honors

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Bryant Young on Friday received the 49ers' top two team honors voted on by players and coaches.

The 11th-year defensive tackle, after a resurgent season during which he has led the team's defensive linemen in tackles, was named the recipient of the Len Eshmont Award, the team's most prestigious individual honor.

Young won the honor – which has been awarded every season since 1957 – for an unprecedented fifth time. No other player in 49ers history has won the award more than twice. "As I've said many times, he's a true pro," 49ers coach Dennis Erickson said Friday. "If you're going to take a pro football player and draw up a profile, it's Bryant Young – what he does on and off the field."

The Eshmont award is given annually to the 49er who best exemplifies inspirational and courageous play. Voted on by players, it's usually an unofficial recognition for the team's best player that particular season.

But this year, for the first time, the 49ers also have established an award that recognizes a team MVP, as voted on by coaches.

Young garnered that honor, too.

As the inaugural winner of the Bill Walsh Award, there can be little doubt where Young stands on the team this year. The four-time All-Pro has 71 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery entering Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

After two injury-plagued years, Young is having one of the best seasons of his distinguished career. But his numbers on the field pale in comparison to what he brings to the team with his humble yet imposing presence off it.

"He'll get (his teammates) straight," Erickson said. "He's quiet. He's quieter than a lot. But when he speaks, people obviously listen."

And on the field?

"He was a dominant player," Erickson said. "He made a lot of plays for us. There aren't very many 11-year vets that play like that that I've ever been around or even seen."


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