THE BEST NFL PLAYER?

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who last season was named NFL Most Valuable Player for a third time, has been nominated for the Best NFL Player ESPY. Fans can vote for the award, which will be announced on July 19.

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Colts QB Peyton Manning Nominated for "Best NFL Player" ESPY

INDIANAPOLIS – Peyton Manning won his third NFL Most Valuable Player Award this past season in one of the guttiest, most-memorable seasons of a memorable career. (Click here to vote now!)

Will that peformance be honored yet again?

Possibly, because Manning – who next season will enter his 12th season as the Colts' quarterback – is one of five players who have been nominated for the 2009 "Best NFL Player" ESPY, one of 37 categories for which fans can vote in the 17th annual verson of ESPN's ESPY awards.

Manning, who previously won MVP Awards in 2003 and 2004, posted an NFL-record ninth season with more than 4,000 passing yards in 2008. He also became the first player with 11 consecutive seasons of 25 or more touchdown passes.

Manning previously has won five ESPYs:

• 2006: Best Championship Performance.

• 2005: Best Record Breaking Performance.

• 2005: Outstanding Pro Football Performance.

• 2004: Outstanding Pro Football Performance.

• 1998: Outstanding College Football Performance.

Manning, who missed training camp and preseason after undergoing knee surgery in July, began the season by throwing 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions in the first seven games.

At the time, the Colts were 3-4, under .500 after seven games for the first time since 1998 and had just lost back-to-back road games by double digits for the first time since Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy's 2002 arrival. Had the season ended in late October, the Colts would have missed the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

In nine games after that, Manning – who was named the AFC's Offensive Player of the Week three times – completed 209 of 290 passes for 2,153 yards and 17 touchdowns with three interceptions. The Colts won all nine games, beating three division champions – Pittsburgh, San Diego and Tennessee – and also beating New England, which finished 11-5 to become the first team in 23 years to win 11 games and not qualify for the postseason.

In the first seven games of the season, Manning had two games with a passer rating over 90. In the last nine games, he had eight such games and in December, he completed 90 of 110 passes for 1,054 yards and eight touchdowns with no interceptions.

Aside from Manning, who led the Colts to an NFL-best seventh consecutive postseason appearance last season, other NFL players nominated were:

• Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals. He had a total of 96 receptions, 1,431 yards and 12 touchdowns during the regular season. He then broke the NFL postseason records for receptions (30) and receiving yards (546), previously held by Jerry Rice. Had four catches of more than 40 yards during the playoffs.

• James Harrison, linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers. The NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Harrison recorded 16 sacks during the regular season and returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown in the Super Bowl.

• Adrian Peterson, running back, Minnesota Vikings. A second-year veteran, Peterson led the NFL in rushing yards with 1,760 and averaged 4.8 yards-per-carry. He also became the fifth player in NFL history to total over 3,000 rushing yards over his first two seasons.

• Kurt Warner, quarterback, Arizona Cardinals. Warner, who led the Cardinals to the NFC Championship and their first Super Bowl appearance, threw for 4,583 yards during the regular season. That total was second in the NFL and Warner had the most poseason passing yards (1,147).

The ESPYs, which will be hosted this year by Samuel Jackson, will be televised Sunday, July 19, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN HD.

Voting begins today and runs through 11:59 p.m. ET July 11.

Fans can vote for the ESPYs online at www.espys.tv or via mobile phone at www.espn.mobi.

The ESPYs gather top celebrities from sand entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances.

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