The Cincinnati Chapter of Pro Football Writers of America have announced they’ve named RB Joe Mixon as the Bengals’ 2018 Most Valuable Player and LB Vincent Rey the recipient of the organization’s annual “Good Guy” award for professionalism and cooperation with media and understanding the media’s role in covering the team. Both players are first time recipients of the award.
In just his second year, Mixon is poised to take the AFC rushing title this upcoming Sunday and currently leads the team in yards from scrimmage (1,357) and touchdowns (9) despite missing two games earlier this season with a knee injury.
“Mixon became the focal point of the Bengals offense, particularly as injury ravaged the skill positions during the season,” said Cincinnati Enquirer Bengals beat writer Paul Dehner Jr. “Despite all the attention, he still managed to produce at an efficient rate while taking on a significant workload.”
It cannot be understated how much injuries impacted the Bengals’ 2018 season, specifically their offense. As of this afternoon, Tyler Boyd joined Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Mason Schreck on injured reserve, as the team now has 18 total players out for the year. Mixon remains the Bengals’ best offensive player and has at times been the only bright spot in the battered group, so it’s no surprise that he was recognized for his value.
Mixon becomes the third running back to win the award. Other past MVP winners have been QB Jon Kitna (2002-03), HB Rudi Johnson (’04), QB Carson Palmer (’05), OT Willie Anderson (’06), WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (’07-08), CBs Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph (’09), OT Andrew Whitworth (’10), Dalton (’11 and ’15), DT Geno Atkins (’12 and ’17), LB Vontaze Burfict (’13), HB Jeremy Hill (’14) and Green (’16).
As for Rey, this may be the first time he’s won the award as the team’s “Good Guy” with the media, but his character off the field and in the locker room has never been in question.
“Few better encapsulate what it means to act like a professional on and off the field than Rey,” Dehner Jr. said. “Not only was Vinny (Rey) always available despite many tough days for the team this year, but he did so with a smile and genuine caring and positive attitude, just as he has his entire career in Cincinnati. He’s what this award is all about.”
2018 could be Rey’s last year playing for the organization, so it’s awesome he was given this honor before his potential departure. Past “Good Guy” winners have been FB Lorenzo Neal (2001), Anderson (’02), HB Brandon Bennett (’03), LB Brian Simmons (’04), DT John Thornton (’05), Houshmandzadeh (’06), DT Bryan Robinson (’07), G Bobbie Williams (’08), Palmer (’09), HB Cedric Benson (’10), S Chris Crocker (’11), Whitworth (’12 and ’15), DT Domata Peko (’13), DT Devon Still (’14), Dre Kirkpatrick (’16) and Carlos Dunlap (’17).