Chargers announce team awards

The San Diego Chargers announced their team awards on Thursday, tabulated via a vote from the players and staff.

The San Diego Chargers have voted and Pro Bowl running back LaDainian Tomlinson has been chosen as the Chargers' Most Valuable Player. It is his fourth MVP award. He's the NFL's leading rusher with 1,815 yards and set the NFL's single-season touchdown record with 31. His 186 points set a NFL record for most points in a season for a non-kicker. Tomlinson's nine consecutive 100-yard games are a career best and tied for the third-longest stretch in NFL history. He also threw two touchdown passes this season.

Offensive Player of the Year honors went to Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers. He's the NFL's leading passer in the fourth-quarter and its fourth-leading passer in the second half. He recorded 284 completions for 3,388 yards and 22 touchdowns. It's the first year that Rivers has won the award. The offensive player of the year receives the Rodney Culver Memorial Award in honor of the late running back who died along with his wife, Karen, in the 1996 ValuJet plane crash in the Florida Everglades.

Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman was selected as Defensive Player of the Year for the first time. Merriman is a quarterback's worst nightmare. He leads the NFL with 17 sacks and recorded 66 total tackles, including 21 quarterback hits. He also forced four fumbles. The defensive player of the year receives the David Griggs Memorial Award in honor of the former outside linebacker who was killed in a single-car accident in June, 2005 in Davie, Florida.

Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jamal Williams was selected as Co-Lineman of the Year for the third year in a row. He ranks third on the team with 84 total tackles and leads for the most on the team among defensive linemen. Williams is the anchor of San Diego's top-ranked run defense.

Williams shares Lineman of the Year honors with guard Kris Dielman and rookie tackle Marcus McNeill. Dielman and McNeill make up one of the stoutest offensive lines in the league, surrendering only 28 sacks and clearing the way for Tomlinson's record-setting season.

The Special Teams Player of the Year is Pro Bowl wide receiver Kassim Osgood. Osgood, who was voted in to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, had nine stops on special teams despite facing constant double teams. It's his second-career award.

The Most Inspirational Player Award went to linebacker Randall Godfrey for the second year in a row. The 12-year veteran, is the team's seventh-leading tackler with 76 stops on the season. The most inspirational player receives the Emil Karas Memorial Award, in honor of the former three-time AFL all-star linebacker who died of stomach cancer after his retirement from the NFL in 1974. Karas also worked for the Chargers in the front office as director of promotions before his passing.

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