Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, who rebounded from a ACL injury that sidelined him during the 2016 season opener to finish third in the league in receiving yards in 2017, was selected as the 2017 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who threw for 28 touchdowns, was selected as the 2017 NFL Most Improved Player of the Year.
After a rare kidney injury suffered while making a touchdown catch at Baltimore in the eighth game of 2015 that ended his season, Allen received a four-year contract extension before the 2016 season. In the 2016 season opener at Kansas City on September 11, Allen tore his right ACL after making a catch and was lost for the year. He returned in full health for the 2017 season and played in all 16 games (15 starts). Allen caught a club-record 102 passes (fourth in the NFL) for 1,393 yards (third in the league) and six touchdowns. He had seven 100-yard receiving games, including four straight at one point. Allen became the first player in NFL history to post three consecutive games with 10-plus receptions, 100-plus receiving yards and a TD catch when he accomplished the feat in Weeks 11-13. He led the NFL in third-down receptions (36), third-down receiving yards (552) as well as first downs by a wide receiver (74).
Allen is the second member of the Chargers to receive Comeback Player of the Year honors, joining quarterback Philip Rivers (2013).
As a rookie in 2016 after being selected No. 1 overall, Goff started the final seven games of the season. He completed 112 of 205 passes (54.6 completion percentage) for 1,089 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions. This season, he started 15 games and completed 296 of 477 passing attempts (62.1 completion percentage) for 3,804 yards, 28 touchdowns (tied for fifth in the NFL), only seven interceptions, a 100.5 passer rating (fourth-best in franchise history) and a 7.49-yard completion average (third in the NFL). Goff threw for a career-best 355 passing yards against Houston in Week 10, a career-high 146.8 passer rating in Week 9 at the New York Giants and threw for 300 or more yards in five games. He is the only quarterback in club history to throw for 300-plus yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in consecutive games. Goff was the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 9.
Goff is the first member of the Rams to receive NFL Most Improved Player of the Year honors.
2017 COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
2017 MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR: QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
PFWA COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 1992 – QB Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia Eagles; 1993 – RB Marcus Allen, Kansas City Chiefs; 1994 – QB Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins; 1995 – QB Jim Harbaugh, Indianapolis Colts; 1996 – RB Jerome Bettis, Pittsburgh Steelers; 1997 – WR Robert Brooks, Green Bay Packers; 1998 – QB Doug Flutie, Buffalo Bills; 1999 – DT Bryant Young, San Francisco 49ers; 2000 – DE Joe Johnson, New Orleans Saints; 2001 – RB Garrison Hearst, San Francisco 49ers; 2002 – QB Tommy Maddox, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2003 – QB Jon Kitna, Cincinnati Bengals; 2004 – RB Willis McGahee, Buffalo Bills; 2005 – WR Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers; 2006 – QB Chad Pennington, New York Jets; 2007 – WR Randy Moss, New England Patriots; 2008 – QB Chad Pennington, Miami Dolphins; 2009 – QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots; 2010 – QB Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles; 2011 – QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions; 2012 – RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings; 2013 – QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers; 2014 – TE Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots; 2015 – S Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs; 2016 – WR Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers; 2017 – WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers.
PFWA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 2000 – QB Jeff Garcia, San Francisco 49ers; 2001 – QB Kordell Stewart, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2002 – QB Chad Pennington, New York Jets; 2003 – QB Jon Kitna, Cincinnati Bengals; 2004 – QB Drew Brees, San Diego Chargers; 2005 – DE Osi Umenyiora, New York Giants; 2006 – RB Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers; 2007 – QB Derek Anderson, Cleveland Browns; 2008 – RB DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers; 2009 – WR Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys; 2010 – RB Arian Foster, Houston Texans; 2011 – WR Victor Cruz, New York Giants; 2012 – WR Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys; 2013 – WR Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears; 2014 – RB Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2015 – (tie) QB Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins and CB Josh Norman, Carolina Panthers; 2016 – LB Vic Beasley, Atlanta Falcons; 2017 – QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams.