But it is, however, a positive feat to accomplish.
Whether a player suffers a devastating season-ending injury, or just straight up has a down year, the previous season, being honored as the league's "comeback" player for a particular season may aid in that player gaining his confidence back.
Last season there was no doubt that Philadelphia Eagles' signal caller Michael Vick would receive the award for his MVP-worthy performance (3,018 yards, 21 TD passes, 676 rushing yards, 9 TDs) just one year removed from spending his days in prison.
After fully recovering from a serious knee injury, Tom Brady put the Pats on his back and was awarded the CPY trophy in 2009. Chad Pennington–one of two players to be named CPY on two separate occasions–won the year before Brady, in 2008, two seasons removed from his first CPY-worthy season.
This year, I don't believe we will see another two-time winner (Garrison Hearst won in both 1995 and 2001), because Pennington and Brady do not have anything to come back from and obviously Vick can't win it in consecutive seasons.
Carolina made the decision to keep Williams for another five years.
But we could almost certainly have another instance in which there are two winners. On three different occasions there have been co-winners: Joe Montana and Tommy Kramer in 1986, Jim Harbaugh and Garrison Hearst in 1995 and Steve Smith and Tedy Bruschi in 2005.
With two or more strong candidates heading in to training camp, I think we are bound to see quite the race for the CPY crown in 2011. DeAngelo Williams, running back of the Carolina Panthers, just re-signed with his respective team and is poised to break back out this season as the No. 1 back in Cam Newton's offense.
Williams played just six games in 2010 after suffering a foot sprain in late October. He was then placed on the Injured Reserve in mid-November, ending his season with just 361 rushing yards and one touchdown.
In his previous two seasons, Williams totaled 2,632 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground for Carolina. There's no way Williams doesn't break back out for 1,000+ yards and double-digit touchdown totals in '11 as long as he stays healthy.
DeAngelo's teammate, RB Jonathan Stewart, also suffered a concussion and ultimately started just seven games, running for 770 yards and two touchdowns throughout the season. For Stewart, that's most certainly a down-season, considering he ran for 20 touchdowns in his first two pro seasons alongside Williams.
Williams and Stewart are two guys who could compete, but then quarterback Tony Romo comes in to the picture.
Romo made just six starts in 2010 before breaking his left clavicle
Dallas disappointed its fans with a 6-10 third place finish in the NFC East last season, with Tony Romo going 1-5 in his six starts before suffering a broken left clavicle and being placed on the IR in December. Romo has been known to put up great numbers in the regular season, and then go on to falter in the postseason.
Fortunately, this award is given out for what these guys do in the regular season, so his gaudy fantasy-type numbers (4,000 yards, 30 TDs, 90-plus QB rating) would be more than enough to win him this distinction.
Other possible players who could compete for CPY include, but are not limited to:
*Donovan McNabb––possible reincarnation in Minnesota? It's certainly possible with Adrian Peterson carrying the ball and Minn.'s defense crushing opposing offenses.
*Marshawn Lynch––after impressing many with his eye-popping touchdown run in Seattle's postseason win over New Orleans, it appears the troubled running back may have something left in the tank.
*Steve Smith (Car.)––I still believe Smith will find a new home for 2011 before the season starts, and if he does, one could expect he'd turn some heads with a refreshed approach to his game in a new atmosphere.
*Elvis Dumervil––Dumervil led the NFL in sacks two seasons ago, with 17. But before 2010 even got underway Dumervil's season was over after suffering a torn pectoral muscle on August 4. Just one month after signing a six-year deal.
My Prediction: DeAngelo Williams––freshly re-signed, Williams will break 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns, taking the pressure off rookie Cam Newton under center.
~~Photos borrowed from Google, no copyright infringement intended~~