Linebacker Aldon Smith earned his second straight Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honor and running back Frank Gore was named the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week.
Voters on NFL.com selected Smith after he had four tackles, two sacks, a safety and a forced fumble in the 49ers’ 25-19 win against the previously undefeated Detroit Lions. Gore earned his award after running for 141 yards and a score on 15 carries. His 9.4 yards per carry average was the highest of any back with more than 10 carries on the weekend. Gore beat out Pittsburgh’s Rashard Mendenhall and Atlanta’s Michael Turner to win the award.
Smith was selected from among five finalists through fan votes on NFL.com/rookies. The other finalists were Quarterback Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals, defensive tackle Stephen Paea of the Chicago Bears, wide receiver Greg Salas of the St. Louis Rams and defensive end Jabaal Sheard of the Cleveland Browns.
After the regular season, five players will be nominated for Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Fans can vote for the winner on NFL.com/rookies throughout the month of January. The winner will be announced at a press conference at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.
This is Pepsi’s tenth year as the official soft drink sponsor of the NFL and the tenth year that Pepsi will present the NFL Rookie of the Week and NFL Rookie of the Year awards.
Aaron Rodgers was also named the FedEX Air NFL Player of the Week after threw for 310 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the Packers’ 24-3 win over the St. Louis Rams. His 119.6 passer rating was the highest of any quarterback on the weekend. This is his third consecutive win in the Air category.
The weekly FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week Awards are also a win for local communities. Along with the player awards, FedEx is making a $2,000 donation in each of the winning players’ names to the local Junior Achievement area offices in Wisconsin and Northern California. The funding is used to help U.S. small business development, by educating the next generation of entrepreneurs on how to start and grow their own businesses.
During the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVI, FedEx plans to announce the 2011 FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year in Indianapolis, as well as make a $25,000 donation in each winning player’s name to Junior Achievement chapters in the players’ cities.
Fans can still vote for the FedEx Small Business of the Week by visiting NFL.com/FedEx to cast their vote for one of three small business nominees. FedEx will award $5,000 each week to the small business that receives the most online votes, which will be announced every Tuesday. The program then culminates in recognizing the FedEx Small Business of the Year with an all-inclusive trip to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.
As the Official Delivery Service Sponsor of the NFL, Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, FedEx understands the need for a winning game plan, and created the Air & Ground program to highlight superior on-field performance among the league’s top-performing quarterbacks and running backs. Follow FedEx on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter @FedExDelivers and track the conversation at #FedExNFL.
Tags: Aldon Smith, Frank Gore
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