The Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware has finished second in the voting for the 2009 Butkus Award, which honors the NFL's best linebacker, reports Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News. Ware fell 11 points short of the winner, San Francisco's Patrick Willis.
Houston's Brian Cushing finished third for the award, which is voted on by press, scouts and coaches.
The Butkus Award was instituted in 1985, to honor the nation's best collegiate linebacker. In 2008--as suggested by Butkus himself--the honor was expanded to the professional and high school levels. Ware won in the inaugural professional category of the award for his performance in the 2008 season.
Willis was credited with 152 tackles, four sacks, and three forced fumbles in 2009. He also brought down three interceptions for the 8-8 49ers. Ware had 57 tackles, 11 sacks and five forced fumbles, on his way to Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors.
With the honor, Willis becomes the first player to win in more than one category; he also won the the honor in 2006, as a member of the Ole Miss Rebels. Jordan Hicks, of Cincinnati's Lakota West, won in the high school category.