NEW YORK -- Super Bowl champion quarterback Drew Brees, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, and NFL draft consultant Gil Brandt were among the winners of the Professional Football Writers of America annual awards.
Brees received the Good Guy Award that goes to the player who best helped the media do their job.
"The media is our strongest connection to our fans and it is important that we make ourselves available and be accountable when the time calls for us to meet with the media," Brees said. "The media tell our story and I recognize the important job that they have.
"Joining a select group of previous winners such as Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, LaDainian Tomlinson, Tiki Barber and Jerome Bettis shows that it is not only important to lead on the field like these guys have, but also to lead off of it as well."
Zimmer, whose wife, Vicki died suddenly on Oct. 8 in the family's home, got the Halas Award, which is for the individual in the NFL who overcame the most adversity to succeed. The couple had been married 27 years.
Three days later, Zimmer was with the team for its game in Baltimore, which the Bengals won, 17-14. For the 2009 season, the Bengals ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense, their highest ranking since 1993.
"Anytime your name is mentioned with George Halas, and all the other people who have won this award in the past, it's a terrific honor," Zimmer said. "It's a credit to our players and coaches, [head coach] Marvin [Lewis], and my kids. They helped me hang in through the adversity. If I hadn't had them, it would have been harder to continue on.
"Our veteran core group of players really helped me in a number of ways. They were a strength for me."
Brandt earned the Horrigan Award honoring a person who helped the media best do their job. He is a former Dallas Cowboys personnel director and now writes for NFL.com. He is the league's primary source for draft information.
"I value my relationships with the writers, some of those going back decades, and many of whom I now consider friends," Brandt said.
Longtime columnist Peter Finney of the New Orleans Times-Picayune is the winner of the McCann Award, which honors a PFWA member for long and distinguished service to the profession. Finney is in his 64th year covering sports in New Orleans.
After missing the first two Super Bowls because his editor thought the game was "a fad," Finney covered 40 straight Super Bowls. He's a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's board of selectors.
For the third time since 2004, the Houston Texans were selected for the Rozelle Award, which goes to the league public relations staff that best helped the media. The Texans also won in 2004 and 2007.