Every year the Lions give out a defensive MVP award in honor of Lem Barney, one of the best defensive backs to ever don a Lions uniform. He was NFL Rookie of the Year when he picked off 10 passes and has played in seven Pro Bowls.â†µ
Soon-to-be free agent Cliff Avril won the award this season, as voted on by his teammates:â†µ
His 11 sacks led the team and his six forced fumbles were second most in the NFL to only the Ravens’ Terrell Suggs (7). Avril also recovered three fumbles, the second most in the league.â†µ
Avril became the first Lions player to register 10 sacks and have at least one fumble return touchdown and one interception return touchdown in the same season. He’s only the sixth player since the NFL started registering sacks as a statistic in 1982 to accomplish that feat, and the first since 2006 (DeMarcus Ware).
As for the other team awards: Matthew Stafford was voted team's most improved player, Nate Burleson won the Mike Utley Spirit Award, and Jason Hanson and John Wendling shared the Special Teams MVP award.