OLBs Terrell Suggs of the Ravens and DeMarcus Ware of the Cowboys will share this year's Butkus Award, honoring the league's best linebackers. The pair tied for the lead with 46 points, including 10 first-place votes apiece from the panel of coaches, recruiters, scouts and journalists put together by Pro Football Weekly.
Broncos rookie OLB Von Miller finished third with 14 points, and 49ers ILB NaVorro Bowman and Chiefs ILB Derrick Johnson finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Suggs earned the award with his 14 sacks and seven forced fumbles.
"Terrell Suggs had his best year in 2011 of his nine years in the NFL, especially against the run," PFW publisher Hub Arkush said. "He understands blocking angles as well as anyone, and has been one of the most consistent pass rushers during his career."
When it comes to pass rushing, however, few can beat Ware, who finished with 19½ sacks in 2011, and will reach the century mark with his next sack.
"DeMarcus Ware is the best pure pass rusher in football," Arkush said. "He is a persistent and dominating defensive player, and overcame an offseason foot surgery to regain his speed and explosion during 2011."
Ware won the first professional Butkus Award in 2008. The accolade honors Dick Butkus, the legendary Chicago Bears linebacker, who now spends much of his life working to keep athletes away from illegal steroids.
The awards will be annouced formally on a special broadcast of Pro Football Weekly the weekend of Jan. 27-29 on Comcast and Fox Sports Network.