Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Alumni Honor Talib

Buccaneers CB Aqib Talib was named the 2010 NFL Defensive Back of the Year by the NFL Alumni during a star-studded dinner in Dallas on Friday night

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Amid the flurry of player awards handed out during the week leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl, former NFL players weighed in with their opinions on the best of the best.

Among those opinions: Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib was the league's top defensive back in 2010.

Since 1982, the NFL Alumni has conducted a "Player of the Year Awards Dinner" in order to honor a very short list of players and coaches who excelled that season.  The 29th annual event was held at Dallas' Union Station on Friday evening, two days before Super Bowl XLV, where a total of 12 awards were handed out to some of the league's biggest stars.  Gus Johnson, the popular NFL on CBS game announcer, emceed the event, which also attracted such celebrities as Alec Baldwin, Vivica Fox and Tracy Morgan.

As always, the winning players were chosen by votes cast by NFL alumni, with former players only voting for the candidates at their original positions.  The NFL Alumni handed out a total of 12 awards, one each at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker and defensive back, as well as one for a special teams player, one for the coach of the year and one for the overall player of the year.  The list of honorees also included one player given the "Spirit Award."

The Bucs' Talib was tabbed by former NFL players at his position as the league's Defensive Back of the Year for 2010.  He was chosen over fellow finalists Asante Samuel of the Philadelphia Eagles and Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Former Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Parcells created the list of finalists at each position.

Talib follows an impressive group of recent winners of the Defensive Back of the Year Award.  The last four honorees were Green Bay's Charles Woodson (2009), Baltimore's Ed Reed (2008) San Diego's Antonio Cromartie (2007) and Denver's Champ Bailey (2006).

The Buccaneers' third-year defender obviously made a big impression on those who understand the demands of his position, winning the vote despite missing the last quarter of the season with a hip injury.  In just 11 games, Talib secured a team-high six interceptions, returning them for 91 yards and one touchdown.  He also contributed 50 tackles, one tackle for loss and 11 passes defensed, and he was a key element in a Buccaneers' pass defensed that ranked seventh in the NFL in 2010.

Despite missing five games, Talib still tied for fifth in the NFL with his career-high six picks.  Samuel and Polamalu had seven each, one behind the league leader, Reed.  In just three seasons, the former Kansas star has already intercepted 15 passes and has drawn attention as one of the NFL's rising stars at cornerback.

Here is the entire list of players who were honored Friday night at the NFL Alumni's Player of the Year Awards dinner:

2010 NFL Alumni Players of the Year

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Quarterback - Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

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Running back – Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Wide Receiver – Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons

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Tight End – Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

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Offensive Line – Josh Sitton, Green Bay Packers

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Defensive Lineman – Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions

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Linebacker – Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49'ers

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Defensive Back – Aqib Talib, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Special Teams – Devin Hester, Chicago Bears

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Spirit Award – Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys

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Coach of the Year – Todd Haley, Kansas City Chiefs

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Player of the Year – Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers

The NFL Alumni is a charitable organization with national headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and 30 other chapters around the United States.  Anyone who has formerly played professional football is eligible to become a member, and the organization focuses on two distinct causes: aiding retired players and their families and raising funds for youth-oriented charitable causes.

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