CINCINNATI — Bengals safety Jessie Bates III and running back Giovani Bernard were given the Most Valuable Player and "Good Guy" awards, respectively, by the Cincinnati chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) Tuesday morning.
Bates, who was drafted by the Bengals in the 2018 NFL Draft, finished the 2020 season as the top graded safety in the NFL, and led the Bengals in interceptions and passes defended.
"Bates was a runaway winner," Cincinnati chapter president of the PFWA Paul Dehner Jr. said. "His playmaking was one of the primary weapons for the defense and helped hold together a side of the ball battling injuries all around him all season.”
Bates joins the ranks of previous Bengals MVPs like AJ Green ('16) and Geno Atkins ('12 and '17).
Bernard, the Bengals' 2019 nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, is the latest recipient of the "Good Guy" award, which is awarded to players for their professionalism and cooperation with the media. Previous award recipients include Andy Dalton ('19) and Andrew Whitworth ('12 and '15).
"Bernard’s genuine thoughtfulness and honesty made a major difference in being on this beat," Dehner said. "His respect and helpfulness during so many of these challenging Zoom sessions was the latest example of a career full of professionalism toward the media.”