One of the more entertaining NFL award races to watch each season is Comeback Player of the Year. Here is a list of prominent contenders.
Eli Manning – QB – New York Giants
He was a Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowl player three years ago but Eli Manning hit rock bottom in 2013 with 27 interceptions and just 18 touchdown passes. He’s 33-years old and hoping a fresh start in a new offense is what he needs with the New York Giants. That and better pass protection.
Robert Griffin III – QB – Washington Redskins
After winning Rookie of the Year and guiding the Washington Redskins to the playoffs, it looked like Robert Griffin III was destined for greatness. Then he tore his knee up, came back earlier than he should’ve and watched his second year fizzle to a 3-13 finish and less impact in every stat category.
Julio Jones – WR – Atlanta Falcons
Through the first five games of the NFL season, Julio Jones still looked like the highlight reel playmaker he became in 2012. Unfortunately he caught a bad break by injuring his foot. The Atlanta Falcons made due without him, but his presence was missed. How much better they’ll get with him back should help his cause for the award.
Rob Gronkowski – TE – New England Patriots
It was a red flag on him coming out of college. Everybody said Rob Gronkowski was long on talent but also injuries. Thus far his time with the New England Patriots has reflected that. When he’s on the field, he’s practically unstoppable, but that is the problem. He has missed 14 games over the past two years. Proving he can stay healthy is paramount to his campaign.
Geno Atkins – DT – Cincinnati Bengals
To understand the greatness of Geno Atkins, he only played nine games in 2013 before injuring his knee. In that span he still managed to collect six sacks. Most NFL experts would consider that a successful season for the Cincinnati Bengals, and he still had seven games to go. If he returns to form as expected, people will remember him real quick.
Von Miller – OLB – Denver Broncos
First it was a suspension, then it was a knee injury. Von Miller just couldn’t stay on the field for very long last season. Hard as that is to swallow for him and Denver Broncos fans, it doesn’t erase the 35 sacks he has in three years. He has a chance to truly dominate in 2014 if he can stay healthy, especially with Demarcus Ware in town.
Charles Tillman – CB – Chicago Bears
“Peanut” started off so well in 2013, nabbing two interceptions for the Chicago Bears in their opening day win. Then the injury bug, which he’d avoided so well most of his career, caught up with him. Charles Tillman missed eight games with various ailments. However, his style of game should allow him to reclaim his Pro Bowl form quickly.