Sykes Named AFL Riddell Defensive Player of the Year
|SaberCats DL Joe Sykes brought home Riddell Defensive Player of the Year honors for his record-setting 2012 campaign
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Arena Football League and the SaberCats announced today that defensive lineman Joe Sykes was named the AFL’s Riddell Defensive Player of the Year. This honor is in addition to already having been named the Game Tape Exchange Defensive Lineman of the Year and as well as a First Team All-Arena selection.
“We are really happy for Joe, he really earned and truly deserved this recognition,” SaberCats Owner/Head Coach Darren Arbet said regarding the league’s announcement. “Joe is an extremely hard worker and was never satisfied, always working to get better. His ability to get to the quarterback and create pressure was a huge asset for us this past year.”
Sykes (6-5, 280, Southern) had a season for the ages along the defensive line on his way to being named the Riddell Defensive Player of the Year. The second year man out of Southern posted an AFL single-season record for sacks in a season with 16.0. He broke the previous record of 15.5 set in 2010 by SaberCats teammate Gabe Nyenhuis when he was a member of the Tulsa Talons.
The First Team All-Arena selection finished the season with 33.0 total tackles, forced five fumbles, recovered two more, had an interception he returned for a touchdown and returned a blocked field goal for another score. This marks the first time in Sykes’ career that he has earned Riddell Defensive Player of the Year honors.
He was awarded Riddell Defensive Player of the Week honors after recording a single-game franchise record four sacks against the Iowa Barnstormers on April 28. Sykes later earned the award again in Week 14 by recording two-and-a-half sacks and a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Orlando Predators.
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