Updated:NEW YORK (AP)
(AP) Luke Kuechly has been voted The Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year, adding the honor to his top defensive rookie award of 2012.
Carolina's All-Pro linebacker received 19 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league in balloting announced Saturday night. He beat out Indianapolis All-Pro linebacker Robert Mathis, who earned 11 1/2 votes.
Kuechly was credited with 96 tackles for a defense that allowed 241 points, fewer than any team except NFC champion Seattle. He also had four interceptions, two sacks, eight passes defensed, and was a presence from sideline to sideline on the NFL's No. 2 unit.
Two Seahawks All-Pros also drew support in the voting: safety Earl Thomas (7 1/2 votes) and cornerback Richard Sherman (4).
Second-year LB Kuechly AP's top defensive player
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