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2016 Team Player Awards Announced

Chargers players have voted on numerous team awards dating back to 1961. Although it's been a tough year, several players earned rightfully deserved recognition. Here are this year's recipients:

2016 Most Valuable Player:Casey Hayward

The cornerback is only the third defensive player in the last 15 years to be named team MVP, joining Jamal Williams in 2008 and Eric Weddle in 2012.  Hayward is headed to his first career Pro Bowl as he leads the NFL in interceptions and passes defensed.  In his first season as a Charger, Hayward was tasked with limiting the opposition's top weapon and established himself as a true shutdown corner.

2016 Offensive Player of the Year (Rodney Culver Memorial Award):Melvin Gordon

It was a breakout season for the Chargers running back, who became a household name as one of the NFL's top running backs.  Gordon is three yards shy of 1,000 on the year entering Week 17, carrying the rock 245 times for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns while catching 41 passes for 419 yards and another pair of scores. He is the sixth running back to ever capture the award, joining Ryan Mathews, LaDainian Tomlinson, Mike Tolbert, Natrone Means and Gary Brown.

2016 Defensive Player of the Year (David Griggs Memorial Award):Casey Hayward

It should come as no surprise that the team MVP is also its defensive player of the year.  Not only does Hayward have a league-high seven picks, but he's also tallied 52 tackles and 23 passes defensed through 15 games per the coaching stats. Hayward is the second straight cornerback to be named the team's Defensive Player of the Year after Jason Verrett earned the honor in 2015.

2016 Special Teams Player of the Year:Darrell Stuckey

For the third time in four years, the Chargers' Special Teams captain takes home the hardware.  Despite commanding constant double and triple teams as one of the top gunners in the NFL, Stuckey's seven tackles rank third on the team behind Joshua Perry and Tourek Williams.

2016 Co-Linemen of the Year:Matt Slauson, Joey Bosa

Slauson brought toughness to the Bolts in 2016, and is the first center to win the award since Nick Hardwick.  Perhaps most impressive, this was the first time the eight-year veteran began a season at center as he became the anchor of the Chargers' offensive line.

Meanwhile, Bosa announced his presence with authority in a rookie year to remember.  Despite missing the first four weeks of the season with a hamstring injury, the third overall pick leads all NFL rookies with 9.5 sacks.  The defensive end also had 42 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 42 pressures and 12 QB hits.

2016 Most Inspirational Player (Emil Karas Memorial Award):Brandon Mebane

Signed to a three-year contract in the opening hours of free agency, it didn't take the veteran nose tackle long to emerge as the heart and soul of the Chargers defense.  Voted a team captain in his first year in San Diego, Mebane appeared in 10 games before a biceps injury prematurely ended his campaign.  While he was a game changer on the field, recording 35 tackles, 15 pressures, six QB hits, one sack and his first career interception, his leadership in the locker room proved invaluable.  Mebane has been a steady presence at Chargers Park rallying the troops even after landing on the Reserve-Injured list in late November.

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