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Joe Flacco voted AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year after leading Browns to playoffs

LAS VEGAS — It’s been a whirlwind few months for Browns quarterback Joe Flacco.

He went from the couch to the playoffs to the NFL Honors stage, where he won AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year on Thursday night, surprisingly beating out Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who returned to the field after suffering a heart attack on it last season in a game against the Bengals.

Flacco, who told beforehand that he would’ve voted for Hamlin, beat him 151-140, earning 13 first place votes to Hamlin’s 21, but 26 second-place votes to Hamlin’s 7.

Other finalists for the award were former Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, who led the Bucs to the playoffs, Rams quarterback Matt Stafford, and Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Flacco’s award marked a clean sweep for the Browns: Myles Garrett won Defensive Player of the Year, Kevin Stefanski won Coach of the Year and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz won Assistant coach of the Year — a huge year for a team that went 11-6 and clinched the third playoff berth since 1999 despite losing so many key players to injuries.

“Big thanks to the city of Cleveland, just everybody in Cleveland,” Flacco said in his acceptance speech. “I want to say thank you to my teammates just for welcoming me in that locker room at that point of the year. I want to say thank you to the organization for just giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do, and that’s play football. And I want to say thank you to the city just for making me and my family feel at home for a couple months. Truly special.

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