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PFWA gives 'Good Guy Award' to Leonard Williams


Since 2001, the Giants' chapter of the Professional Football Writers of America has annually presented the George Young Good Guy Award to a player for his consistent and outstanding cooperation with the writers who cover the team daily.

Young, who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020, was the Giants' general manager from 1979-97. This year, the writers added the name of his successor, Ernie Accorsi, to the award, which was given to defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

The writers' announcement said Williams received the 21st annual award for "for his professionalism and availability during the 2021 season," and Accorsi for, "for a career overflowing with such contributions."

The award is now known as the George Young-Ernie Accorsi Good Guy Award.

Williams was recognized for his honest, insightful and candid answers to the many questions he faced during a challenging season. Whether discussing fan reactions, his own health issues, or any of the other matters that made 2021 a turbulent year for the Giants, Williams was readily available to provide the perspective of a respected NFL veteran.

"I found out about it today, but I was just surprised that out of everybody that I won the award, because sometimes when I'm being brought in, I give (director of football communications) Dion (Dargin) and some of the staff a hard time about talking to the media," Williams said.

In some of the closest and most diverse voting in years, Williams received seven of a possible 16 first-place votes. Safety Julian Love finished second in this year's voting with four first-place votes. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay finished third with two first-place votes. Fullback Eli Penny received two first-place votes and cornerback James Bradberry received one. In all, 10 different players appeared on at least one of the 16 ballots.

Accorsi's name has been permanently added to the award in recognition of a long career as one of the most accessible, gregarious, quotable and admired people to ever work in an NFL front office. He was general manager of the Giants from 1998-2006 and since his retirement has remained a valuable resource to many who chronicle the team. His impact on the franchise is undeniable and immeasurable and it will now be remembered annually with great gratitude by the members of this chapter of the Professional Football Writers of America.

"It means a lot to me that this comes from the media, to know you were fair and honest with them," Accorsi said. "I really enjoyed my interaction with the New York media. It was a great experience, the give and take. George was a master at that. Anything that has to do with George means a lot to me. I really appreciate this, especially because of the connection to George."

Winners of the George Young-Ernie Accorsi Good Guy Award

2021 – DL Leonard Williams

2020 – S Logan Ryan

2019 – TE Evan Engram

2018 – WR Sterling Shepard

2017 – S Landon Collins

2016 – WR Victor Cruz

2015 – CB Prince Amukamara

2014 – RB Rashad Jennings

2013 – CB Terrell Thomas

2012 – S Antrel Rolle

2011 – WR Victor Cruz

2010 – DT Barry Cofield

2009 – DE Mathias Kiwanuka

2008 – QB Eli Manning

2007 – DE Justin Tuck

2006 – WR Plaxico Burress

2005 – RB Tiki Barber

2004 – QB Kurt Warner

2003 – WR Ike Hilliard

2002 – QB Kerry Collins

2001 – OL Lomas Brown

View photos of defensive lineman Leonard Williams.


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