PITTSBURGH PA - JANUARY 23: Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates their 24 to 19 win over the New York Jets in the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23 2011 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Troy Polamalu, Not Clay Matthews, Wins AP Defensive Player Of The Year

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Troy Polamalu Wins NFL's 2011 AP Defensive Player Of The Year Award Over Clay Matthews

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu was named the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press, announced live on NFL Network Monday night. He was not expected to win the award, with Rich Eisen’s interview of Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews moments before the announcement seeming to end any drama that could’ve been built up.

Multiple media outlets reported Matthews as the winner before NFL Network actually made the announcement. He was the favorite coming in to the event, and finished only two votes short of the winner.

This year Polamalu accumulated seven interceptions in 14 games after missing most of 2009 due to injury. He’s a big reason Pittsburgh is one of two teams that still has football left to play.

Other prime vote-getters included one of Polamalu’s Super Bowl teammates, Pittsburgh Steelers LB James Harrison, along with players like Chicago Bears DE Julius Peppers and LB Brian Urlacher.

For more on Polamalu visit Behind The Steel Curtain.

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Clay Matthews Favored To Win NFL's AP Defensive Player Of The Year Award Tonight

The NFL will announce the winner of the 2011 AP Defensive Player of the Year award tonight on NFL Network at 7 pm ET. The league is announcing its major awards one by one over the course of the week, with Offensive Player of the Year on Tuesday, followed by Wednesday's Coach of the Year, Thursday's Rookie of the Year, Friday's Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year, and Saturday's Comeback Player of the Year.

The 2011 NFL MVP will be announced Sunday on GameDay Morning.

Defensive front-runners include Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and LB James Harrison, Chicago Bears DE Julius Peppers, and Miami Dolphins DE Cameron Wake. Voting for the award concluded before the postseason began, so the strong postseason play of the three Super Bowl participants won't be factored in.

Still, an NFL.com poll has Matthews winning by a wide margin, followed by a distant Polamalu. 

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