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Joe Flacco wins comeback player of the year over Damar Hamlin

Bills safety Damar Hamlin came back from the dead, but that wasn’t enough to win him the NFL’s comeback player of the year.

Despite receiving the most first-place votes, Hamlin was beaten out by Browns quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco received the most total points from the 50 voters, who listed three choices on their ballot.

Flacco had 13 first-place votes and 151 total points, while Hamlin received 21 first-place votes and 140 points. Eight voters left Hamlin completely off their ballot.

Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field during a game in Cincinnati in January 2023. He returned to play this season, but some voters left him completely off their ballots after Hamlin played only 17 defensive snaps and 94 on special teams in five games.

Flacco said after the season he would vote for Hamlin, because Flacco wasn’t sure what he was coming back from.

The quarterback returned from inactivity, signing with the Browns on Nov. 20. He went 4-1 as a starter, leading the team to the postseason, while throwing for 1,616 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

The comeback player of the year award, though, is absent a definition with each of the 50 selectors deciding what a player is coming back from.

Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield was third (10 first-place votes, 93 points), Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford fourth (1, 30) and Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa fifth (4, 21). Jets running back Breece Hall, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, Jaguars receiver Calvin Ridley, Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray also received votes, with Purdy getting one first-place vote.