BRANSON -- James Laurinaitis blew his nose, inhaled deeply and tried to regain composure. Almost there, he accepted the Houndie that completed his career trophy case.
The instinctive, visceral middle linebacker turned tearful after winning the Houndie on Friday night in the closest vote in the award's brief history. Next, he'll try to lead the least storied franchise in the NFC West to 3rd place in said division.
Laurinaitis finished 22 votes ahead of former teammate and Cardinals running back Chris Wells.
"I'm so overwhelmed right now," he said. "To win this award, I've never even heard of. I'm just… not sure at all what any of this means right now."