The NFL will hand out a variety of awards next month at the NFL Honors program, and one award will be the Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year Award. This year's award includes some pretty big names, and most of the winners will be pretty deserving.
NaVorro Bowman is obviously a strong candidate from the San Francisco 49ers. After missing a year and a half due to his torn ACL and MCL, Bowman is second in the NFL in tackles. His coverage has taken a hit in his comeback, but he has made significant progress returning from the knee injury. I don't know if he will ever return to his pre-injury form, but this season was a strong step forward for him.
Two other notable candidates would be Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry. Palmer tore his ACL last season, and has bounced back to have the best season of his career. Berry was treated for Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and has returned to Pro Bowl form this season. My guess is Berry ends up winning the award, with Palmer and Bowman in the running for second and third.
Where it gets "interesting" is Adrian Peterson. NFL.com put together an article ranking the top ten candidates for Comeback Player of the Year. They ranked Carson Palmer No. 1, Eric Berry No. 3, and NaVorro Bowman No. 8. Ranked No. 2? Adrian Peterson. The same guy who's "comeback" is due to the time he missed after being indicted for child abuse. He subsequently pled no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault on his son.
The ranking of AP No. 2 is an issue, but my bigger issue is the white-washing of the child abuse. For the other nine players, the writer includes specifics about the issue the player is returning from. They mention Peterson missed 15 games last season, but do not explain why. This list includes Richie Incognito and mentions the bullying scandal, but it overlooks the fact that Peterson beat his son. It baffles me.
The writers of the Associated Press will vote on this award, and I imagine they will be smart enough to not give the award to Adrian Peterson. As great a season as he is having, he does not deserve a comeback award. That being said, it would not surprise me at all if at least one Associated Press writer votes for Peterson, and then writers his glorious think piece about why the reasoning for Peterson missing time should not matter. I eagerly look forward to that.