Wide receiver Miles Austin and nose tackle Jay Ratliff were named the Cowboys’ offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively, on Wednesday, at the annual Dallas Cowboys kickoff luncheon at Cowboys Stadium.
The kickoff luncheon, held each year before the opening of the regular season, supports the Dallas Cowboys Courage House at the Happy Hills Farm Academy.
Austin, after entering the season as the Cowboys’ No. 3 receiver, vaulted up the depth chart after a record-breaking performance in week five against Kansas City, his first career start--and never looked back. Austin posted 81 catches for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season, en route to a Pro Bowl nod.
While certainly arguable, it is somewhat surprising that Austin beat out Tony Romo for player of the year honors. Romo had a red letter year in 2009, even by his hitherto lofty standards, throwing for 4,483 yards, 26 touchdowns and just 9 interceptions. This while leading Dallas to their first playoff win in 13 years.
The defensive player of the year selection was a little more obvious. With DeMarcus Ware hampered by various injuries through most of the season, Ratliff stepped up as a constant leader on defense, both on the field and in the locker room. He posted 40 tackles, two forced fumbles and six sacks, a remarkable number for a nose tackle, while earning First Team All-Pro honors for the first time.
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