Packers RB Eddie Lacy was named The Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year on Saturday.
The award was presented to Lacy at the third annual “NFL Honors” show in New York City.
Lacy received 35 of the 50 votes. Chargers WR Keenan Allen was second with 12 votes. The remaining three votes were split between Bengals RB Giovani Bernard, Lions T Larry Warford and Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson.
In a brief phone interview with packers.com after receiving his award, Lacy confessed he was plenty nervous heading up on stage in front of the NFL world and a national TV audience.
“That was the most nerve-racking thing I think I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Lacy said. “I like to think I have stagefright, and that’s something I would try to avoid at all costs, but this was one situation where you pretty much have to go up and face your fears. As happy as I was to be up there to receive the award, I was very nervous to speak in front of everybody.”
On stage, Lacy thanked his family, teammates and coaching staff for all their support and for “making me feel a part of their team.”
Lacy joins John Brockington (1971), also a running back with a powerful running style, as the only Packers to win this award. Lacy broke Brockington’s franchise rookie records for carries (284) and rushing yards (1,178) this past season.
Lacy said Brockington reached out to him by phone after his 42-year-old records were broken and was more than excited to see where Lacy’s career goes from here.
“He’s a great guy and a great man,” Lacy said. “To be able to break his record and have him talk to you about it, it’s a great feeling. I’m just happy to bring that running style back to Green Bay.
“He told me about how excited he was when I got picked, and the visions he saw for what I can do for the running game in Green Bay.”
Lacy also broke Samkon Gado’s franchise rookie record for rushing TDs with 11, nearly doubling Gado’s total of six in 2005.
Lacy added 35 receptions for 257 yards in the passing game, giving him over 1,400 yards from scrimmage on the season. Lacy also fumbled just once, in his NFL debut in Week 1 at San Francisco.
That was the beginning of a slow start, as Lacy then suffered a concussion on his first carry in Week 2 vs. Washington, which forced him to sit out the rest of that game and the next one, in Week 3 at Cincinnati.
Lacy said the only thing he changed about his approach thereafter was to not leave his feet, because he got the concussion by getting hit in the side of the head in midair. He was trying to avoid a teammate on the ground who had tried to throw a block in front of him but ended up paying the price.
“The last thing I wanted to do was jump and get another concussion,” he said. “I had to let the game come to me.”
He went on to rush for 1,127 yards over the final 13 regular-season games, an average of 87 yards per game.
The Packers’ lone Pro Bowl representative, Lacy posted four 100-plus-yard rushing games, along with two other games of 90-plus. His season high was 150 yards against Chicago in Week 9 at Lambeau Field, the second-most rushing yards in a single game by a Packers rookie, behind only Gado’s 171 yards against Detroit in Week 14 of 2005.
Lacy already had been named Rookie of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America and a second-team All-Pro by AP. He was the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Month for October, joining Gado as the only other Packers rookie to win the monthly honor.
He was also named the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week for his performance at Dallas in Week 15, when he rushed 21 times for 141 yards and a TD, including a 60-yard run on the opening play of the second half to spark Green Bay’s comeback from a 26-3 deficit for a 37-36 win.
As for whether his dynamite rookie season and this latest prestigious award put any added pressure on him for 2014, Lacy indicated he’ll be the same laid-back guy off the field and intense competitor on it as his career continues.
“I have great teammtes and a great coaching staff, and they’ll make sure I’m not putting extra pressure on myself,” he said. “I’ll go into the season with the same mindset as this past season, just don’t try to do too much and make the most of every opportunity that I get.”
Tags: eddie lacy, nfl honors, rookie of the year
Posted in Packers.com Blog