The National Football League today announced the five finalists for the 2009 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year award.
Texans linebacker Brian Cushing, the 2009 AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, is one of the finalists, along with Bills safety Jairus Byrd, Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews and Ravens tackle Michael Oher.
Fans can vote for Cushing on www.nfl.com/rookies through 5:00 p.m. CT on Feb. 2 to determine the winner.
The 2009 NFL Rookie of the Year will be presented the award during a press conference in South Florida, the site of Super Bowl XLIV, on Thursday, Feb. 4.
The five finalists were selected for their outstanding performances throughout the 2009 NFL season. Each week, five nominees were chosen for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week and NFL fans voted for the winner on NFL.com. Those results were used to help determine the finalists.
Cushing led all rookie defenders with 133 tackles, leading or tying the Texans in tackles nine times during the 2009 season. Starting all 16 games for Houston, he had four sacks and recorded four interceptions, leading all NFL linebackers in picks and tied for second overall among rookies. Cushing totaled 10 passes defensed on the season, forced two fumbles and was selected to the 2010 AFC Pro Bowl team. Cushing, who attended USC and was drafted in the first round (No. 15 overall), was nominated for five Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week awards.