The close of the season means team awards are being decided. The San Francisco 49ers announced their various recipients, which comes the same day the local media announced Antoine Bethea as their unanimous vote for team MVP.
Here is a rundown of the team awards, with a description of that each award stands for. It has been an ugly season in many respects, but there were still some notable standouts who showed class and professionalism throughout. These are just a few of them.
Len Eshmont Award: RB Frank Gore
The Len Eshmont Award is voted on by the players and is given to the 49er who best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, an original member of the 1946 49ers team. Eshmont, who coached at Navy and Virginia following his career in San Francisco, died in 1957. The award was established that year.
Bill Walsh Award: S Antoine Bethea
The Bill Walsh Award was established in 2004 in honor of San Francisco's Hall of Fame Head Coach. Walsh served as the team's head coach for 10 seasons from 1979-88. In that time, he compiled a record of 102-63-1 and led the team to three Super Bowls. He was twice named Coach of the Year (1981, 1984) and was later named Coach of the Decade for the 1980s. The award, which is voted on by coaches, is given to the 49ers team MVP, honoring his outstanding individual performance.
Bobb McKittrick Award: T Joe Staley
The Bobb McKittrick Award is given annually to the 49ers offensive lineman who best represents the courage, intensity and sacrifice displayed by the longtime offensive line coach, during his 21 years of service to the 49ers. The award was established by the 49ers in 1999, and is voted on by the offensive line.
Hazeltine Iron Man Award: DT Justin Smith
The Hazeltine Iron Man Award is named for former linebacker Matt Hazeltine, a 13-year performer who played more seasons at linebacker than any other 49ers player. Known for his durability and dedication, Hazeltine passed away in 1987 from ALS, and Bill Walsh established the award in his honor that year. The award is given annually to the most courageous and inspirational defensive player as voted upon by the defensive coaches.
Thomas Herrion Memorial Award: LB Chris Borland
Thomas Herrion Memorial Award was established in 2005 by 49ers owners Denise and John York and is presented to a rookie or first-year player who best represents the dream of Thomas Herrion. The recipient has taken advantage of every opportunity, turned it into a positive situation and made their dream turn into a reality. The award is voted on by the coaches.
Blue Collar Players of the Year (voted on by the players and coaches)
Defense: Justin Smith
Offense: Anquan Boldin
Special Teams: Kassim Osgood
Perry/Yonamine Unity Award: WR Kassim Osgood
The Perry/Yonamine award is presented to the 49ers player who exhibits an exceptional commitment to promoting unity within the team and in their community. The Perry/Yonamine Unity Award is named for the former 49ers players and pioneers of unity and diversity, Joe "The Jet" Perry and Wally Yonamine, and is voted on by the players.
Community Relations Service Awards
Together, players from the San Francisco 49ers provided over 500 hours of community service during the 2014 season. Including Pasta Bowl, 100 percent of the team participated in at least one community service event during the year. Top participants and winners of the Community Relations Service Awards were LB Chris Borland, who won the rookie player award, LB Michael Wilhoite and S Craig Dahl, who are co-recipients of this season's veteran player award, and Dennis Brown, who won the alumnus award for the fourth consecutive year.
Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee: WR Anquan Boldin
The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, named after the late Hall of Fame running back of the Chicago Bears, is given annually to the player who best exemplifies a commitment to philanthropy and community involvement.
Each team will nominate one player and the 32 Man of the Year nominees will be pared down to three finalists in January. The winner will be announced in Arizona, the site of Super Bowl XLIX, during the fourth annual NFL Honors awards show, on January 31.