New England tight end Rob Gronkowski, who rebounded from an injury-plagued 2013 season to lead all NFL tight ends in receiving yards in 2014, was selected as the 2014 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell, who was second in the NFL in rushing yards and led the league in receiving yards by a running back, was selected as the 2014 NFL Most Improved Player of the Year.
Bell had a solid rookie season in 2013 with 244 rushes for 860 yards (3.5 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns to go with 45 receptions for 399 yards out of the backfield for a total of 1,259 scrimmage yards, a Steelers rookie record. He hit his stride in 2014 as he finished second in the league in rushing yards with 1,361 on 290 carries (4.7 yards per rush) and eight TDs on the way to PFWA All-NFL honors. He also led the NFL in running back receiving yards as he more than doubled his output to 854 yards on 83 receptions (10.3 yards per catch) with three touchdowns. His 2,215 total scrimmage yards was a franchise record and second in the NFL, and he led the league in total first downs with 114.
Bell tied for first in the NFL with 13 games of 100 or more yards from scrimmage, and he tied a NFL mark with three straight games of 200 or more scrimmage yards held by Walter Payton in 1977. His top rushing game came in Week 11 at Tennessee with 204 yards on 33 carries in a 27-24 victory. His best receiving game was against New Orleans in Week 13, when he caught eight passes for 159 yards.
Bell is the second member of the Steelers’ organization to receive Most Improved Player of the Year honors. Quarterback Kordell Stewart was selected in 2001.
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