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NFL NOTES : Smith's Talk Turns True: He's Named Top Defender

January 10, 1991|From Associated Press

Bruce Smith talks a good game. He plays a great game.

Smith, the star defensive end of the Buffalo Bills, has been touting himself as the best defensive player in the NFL this season. A panel of 80 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league agreed today, voting Smith the Defensive Player of the Year.

Smith easily won the balloting with 72 votes. Kansas City linebacker Derrick Thomas was next with five, followed by linebacker Charles Haley and safety Ronnie Lott of the 49ers and New Orleans linebacker Vaughan Johnson with one apiece.

"I'm overwhelmed to say the least," Smith said. "It's the perfect opportunity to thank God, my teammates and my family for their support. I think without all of them playing a vital part in winning this award, it wouldn't have been done."

Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year today by The Associated Press. Phoenix Cardinals running back Johnny Johnson was a close second with 29 votes.

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Fredd Young likely will retire after failing the team's post-season physical due to a lingering hip injury, General Manager Jim Irsay said.

Young, 29, missed five of the last six games of the season with the injury. The Colts got him in 1988 for two first-round draft picks.

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