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LA Rams announce 2017 team awards

There’s no doubting that these three players deserve the recognition. And their teammates gave it to them.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Rams sent out a press release identifying three players that earned annual honors — for their work both on and off the field.

Running back Todd Gurley, left tackle Andrew Whitworth, and rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp were each recognized - by their teammates - for their exemplary performances during the 2017 season.

Without further ado...

Daniel F. Reeves Memorial Award Winner: Todd Gurley

A bit about the award, which is given to the team’s “Most Valuable Player”:

The Daniel F. Reeves Memorial Award was established in 1969 in honor of the former owner of the Rams, Dan Reeves, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967. Reeves owned the Rams from 1941-71 and claimed World Championships in 1945 and 1951. He was the first to integrate football in the modern era with the signing of Woody Strode and Kenny Washington in 1946.

It’s hard to argue that Gurley - who leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage - is indeed the team’s MVP this season. While Aaron Donald is, as always, wrecking opponents on defense, Todd Gurley has oftentimes put the offense on his back and his stellar 2017 campaign has him in contention for the league MVP award, as well.

Gurley is the third player in NFL history to have at least 2,000 scrimmage yards, 10 rushing touchdowns and more than five receiving touchdowns in a single season, the other two are Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk (2000, ’01) and O.J. Simpson (1975). The third-year pro has made a strong case for the league's Most Valuable Player as he currently leads the NFL in touchdowns (19), is the highest scoring non-kicker (114 points), and ranks first in the league in scrimmage yards (2,093) and rushing yards (1,305) through Week 16. Additionally, Gurley’s been the best receiving back in the NFL this season, leading all RBs in receiving yards (788) and reception average (12.3 yards per reception).

2016 Winner: DT Aaron Donald

Carl Ekern Spirit of the Game Award: Andrew Whitworth

A bit about the award, which is given to the “player who best exemplifies sportsmanship, ethic and commitment to teammates”:

Established in 1990, the Carl Ekern Spirit of the Game Award is given to the player who best exemplifies sportsmanship, ethic, and commitment to his teammates. Those traits were displayed by former Rams linebacker Carl Ekern, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1990. Ekern was a starter for the Rams from 1982-88 and earned an invitation to the Pro Bowl in 1986.

Andrew Whitworth is, and has been, as advertised. His efforts on and off the field, are all a team - both players and coaches - could ask for. More on Big Whit from the team themselves:

Regarded as one of the leaders in the locker room and a mentor both on and off the field, 2017 free agent-signee Whitworth was voted a team captain by his peers. A veteran of 12 NFL seasons, teammates and coaches regularly lean on his experience and the example that he sets as an NFL professional. In his first year with the Rams, Whitworth helped provide time for Goff to throw for a career-best 146.8 QB rating in the Rams’ Week 9, 51-17 win at the New York Giants. Through Week 16, Whitworth has been a part of an offensive line unit that has only allowed 25 times, which is tied for the seventh-fewest sacks surrendered by a team during the 2017 season.

2016 Winner: TE Cory Harkey

Carroll Rosenbloom Memorial Award: Cooper Kupp

A bit about the award, which is given to the team’s Rookie of the Year:

The Carroll Rosenbloom Memorial Award is given to the team’s Rookie of the Year and was established following the passing of former owner Carroll Rosenbloom in 1979. Rosenbloom became the owner of the Rams when he orchestrated an unprecedented franchise trade in 1972.

A positive note, both for 2017 and beyond, is that several of the Rams’ 2017 draft picks stepped up in their rookie years; but none more so than Kupp. With only one week to remaining in the regular season, he leads all rookies with 869 receiving yards and has consistently found a way to make big plays for the offense.

Through Week 16 Kupp leads the team in receiving yards (869) and ranks second in receptions (62). To date, he’s totaled five receiving touchdowns and the rookie posted his first career 100-plus receiving-yard game with 116 yards receiving in a 26-20 win over New Orleans in a Week 12 contest. Entering the final week of the regular season, he leads all NFL rookies in receiving yards (869), first down receptions (42) and 20-plus yard receptions (12). He is also one of just six rookies this season to record multiple 40-plus yard receptions. Kupp was drafted No. 69 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.

2016 Winner: LB Cory Littleton

No shortage of praise can be given to these three, who have been integral to this team’s success and, ultimately, the Rams’ return to the postseason.