The Butkus Award has been given annually to the best college linebacker since 1985. Now, they have expanded it to include NFL and high school. The first NFL winner is Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware. He led the league with 20 sacks and six forced fumbles.

“It’s a great thing to be the first of anything, especially to be nominated for something like the Butkus Award,” said Ware, who was named to the NFL’s All-Pro team for the third straight year. “To be known as the most well-rounded linebacker, you have to able to drop into coverage, rush the passer but also to be able to stop the run when it comes at you.”

To win the Butkus Award, you have to be a complete player.

“The criteria is a three-down player who’s not taken out and not a specialty player, like a lot of them are,” Butkus said. “I’m very happy with the choice. He’s an impact player. He goes after it. That’s what I like.”

About The Author

Micah Warren is a sports writer from New York and the founder of Blast's sports section and the Off the Record sports blog.

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