- Flacco only played in six games during the season for the Cleveland Browns.
- Hamlin returned to the field in 2023 but did not earn NFL honor
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Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco received the Comeback Player of the Year award over Damar Hamlin during the NFL Honors on Thursday.
The Buffalo Bills safety was thought to be a lock to take home the award after he made a miraculous return to the field following his cardiac arrest on the field against the Cincinnati Bengals last season.
But Flacco, who got off the couch to lead the Cleveland Browns to the playoffs, was the surprising winner Thursday night.
Hamlin received eight more first-place votes than Flacco, 21 to 13. However, Flacco made up the difference with voters with 26 second-place votes compared to Hamlin’s seven.
The NFL scores votes on a 5-3-1 scale, giving Flacco the advantage. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield finished third in Comeback Player of the Year voting.
After missing most of the 2023 season, Flacco won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award
Hamlin was long expected to win the award after suffering cardiac arrest on the field last year.
Also receiving first-place votes for the award were a trio of quarterbacks: Tua Tagovailoa, Matthew Stafford and Brock Purdy.
Flacco will become a free agent next month as the Browns’ typical starting quarterback, Deshaun Watson, returns to full health after shoulder surgery.
Hamlin is under contract with the Bills through next season.
Hamlin led all vote-getters with 14 third-place votes, slightly more than Mayfield’s 13.
Flacco earned eight third-place votes.