The Bengal “Gabbies” are handed out at the conclusion of the season in recognition of those individuals that made outstanding contributions to the Bengals’ season. First up is the Anthony Munoz Gabbie, awarded to the most valuable offensive player.
- Runningback Cedric Benson: seemingly the obvious choice, Benson was the “Bell Cow” of the Bengals attack, rushing for over 1,200 yards and helped the team move to 9th overall in rushing offense.
- Quarterback Carson Palmer: Despite having a down year statistically, Palmer led 5 comeback drives to win or tie games, played through torn ligaments in his thumb, and took on more of a vocal leadership role.
- Offensive Tackle Andrew Whitworth: Moved to left tackle from left guard and provided outstanding protection, giving up only 1 sack all year.
And the winner is:
Center Kyle Cook
An undrafted free agent in 2008, Cook earned the starting center job in training camp and helped the offensive line gel into one of the most formidable in the league. The Center position had been a weakness since the retirement of Richie Braham in 2006. Cook brought the size (6-3, 312), smarts, and mean streak necessary to help the Bengals revive their running game, protect Carson Palmer, and cobble together a motley crew of castoffs and youngsters into one of the best offensive lines in the league.
Cook started all 17 games this year (including playoffs), and handled the beefy defensive tackles of the AFC North in Casey Hampton (Steelers), Haloti Ngata (Ravens) and Shaun Rogers (Browns) en route to a 6-0 division sweep. As center, he was the leader of the offensive line, calling out blocking assignments and recognizing blitzes. When you consider that the team had three different players rush for over 100 yards, and Cedric Benson compiled a franchise record six 100 yard games, the offensive line was clearly the strength of the offense. Cook was the primary reason for the line’s success, and therefore is deserving of the honor.
Congratulations Kyle Cook, the 2009 Bengals Gab Anthony Munoz Award winner!
About Anthony Munoz: The Bengals Gab offensive MVP award is named after all-time great OT Anthony Munoz. A Bengals first round pick in 1980 (third overall) from USC, Munoz made eleven consecutive pro bowls and played in both Bengal Super Bowl appearances. He is the only Bengal player in the Hall of Fame, enshrined in 1998. He made the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, the 1980’s All-Decade Team, 9 first-team AP All-Pro honors, 2 second-team AP All-Pros, and was named the NFLPA’s Lineman of the Year four times. He is generally considered the greatest offensive player in Cincinnati Bengals history.
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