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The National Football League on Monday announced the five finalists for the 2007 GMC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR award, and the list is led by Texans defensive end Mario Williams.
Also nominated are San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Patrick Kerney, Indianapolis Colts safety Bob Sanders and New England Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel.
Fans can vote for one of these five players on NFL.com from 12 p.m. EST on January 7 through 3 p.m. EST on January 23 to determine the 2007 GMC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR.
The winner will be presented the 2007 GMC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR award during a press conference in Arizona, the site of Super Bowl XLII.
Williams finished the season with a career-high 14 sacks for 82.5 yards - the second-most in the AFC - and also had 59 tackles, two forced fumbles, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery that he returned for a 38-yard touchdown. Williams finished tied for third in the NFL and set a franchise record with 14 sacks, accounting for 45.2 percent of the Texans' sacks (the highest percentage of team sacks in the NFL).
In six straight games, from November 18 - December 23, Williams totaled 10 sacks, the most by any player over a six-game stretch this season. He is also the only player in the NFL to record a sack in six consecutive games. Williams had a big game Week 1, when he made five tackles, two sacks and returned a fumble in the third quarter for a 38-yard touchdown in the Texans' 20-3 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Williams played the best game of his career against Denver when he totaled 3.5 sacks against quarterback Jay Cutler. Williams was nominated for two GMC Defensive Player of the Week awards.
The five finalists were selected for their outstanding performances throughout the 2007 NFL season. Each week, five nominees were chosen for GMC Defensive Player of the Week and NFL fans voted for the winner on NFL.com. Those results were used to help determine the finalists.
This is GMC's third year as the official vehicle of the NFL and the first year that GMC will present the Defensive Player of the Year award.