After each season, the San Francisco 49ers hand out team awards to players for excellence during the regular season. The 49ers released the 2012 player awards this week in categories that include: The Bill Walsh Award, The Ed Block Courage Award, The Thomas Herrion Memorial Award, The Hazeltine Iron Man Award, The Bobb McKittrick Award and The Len Eshmont Award.
With the 49ers appearing in the Super Bowl for the first time in almost two decades, there were plenty of players on the 53-man roster that deserved team recognition. Niner players and the coaching staff voted on the award winners.
Putting his touch on the yearly awards, head coach Jim Harbaugh added a new accolade, Blue Collar Player of the Year on offense, defense and special teams. Below is a list of award winners. Did anyone get left off the list? Tell us about it in the comments!
The Len Eshmont Award
(Awarded to the player who best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, an original member of the 1946 49ers team. Voted by the players.)
Winner: Justin Smith
Smith was inspirational to his teammates after returning in the postseason two games after suffering a triceps injury that should have kept him out for months. He posted 130 tackles, 3.0 sacks and one fumble recovery in the regular season.
The Bill Walsh Award
(Awarded to the 49ers team MVP, honoring a players outstanding individual performance. Voted by the coaches.)
Winner: Aldon Smith
There is no doubt the second-year linebacker was the 49ers MVP in 2012. He had a franchise record 19.5 sacks in his first year as an every down starter.
The Bobb McKittrick Award
(Awarded to the 49ers offensive lineman who best represents the courage, intensity and sacrifice displayed by the longtime offensive line coach, Bobb McKittrick. Voted by members of the offensive line.)
Winner: Anthony Davis
At 23 years old, Davis is the youngest winner of the award which was first awarded in 1999.
The Hazeltine Iron Man Award
(Awarded to a defensive player who best exemplified the play of former 49ers linebacker Matt Hazeltine, who spent 13 seasons in San Francisco, more than another player in franchise history. Voted by the defensive coaches. )
Winner: Ray McDonald
McDonald finished the season with 106 tackles, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
The Thomas Herrion Memorial Award
(Awarded to a rookie or first-year player on special teams who best represents the dream of former 49ers offensive lineman Thomas Herrion.)
Winner: Michael Wilhoite
After being activated to the 53-man roster for a road game against the St. Louis Rams on December 2, Wilhoite had seven special teams tackles in five regular season games. He was also selected by teammates as San Francisco’s special teams captain in the NFC title game.
The Ed Block Courage Award
(Awarded to the player that shows a commitment to sportsmanship and courage.)
Winner: Kyle Williams
After Williams caught 13 passes for 212 yards with one touchdown last season, he missed the rest of the regular season after suffering a knee injury against the New Orleans Saints.
Blue Collar Players of the Year Awards
Offense: Frank Gore
Defense: Ray McDonal
Special Teams: C.J. Spillman