It’s one thing to make it to the National Football League and another whole different thing to actually have a long NFL career.
As a matter of fact, the average length of an NFL career is just 3.3 years, either because of injuries or due to how competitive the league is and how many players make a living out of it.
That’s why the league does well in honoring those players who managed to bounce back and come back after missing time with injuries or not playing at all, boasting the AP Comeback Player of the Year award.
Notably, this year’s finalists are all more than deserving of the award, as the NFL just revealed that New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley, San Francisco 49ers’ Christian McCaffrey, and Seattle Seahawks’ Geno Smith are the top-three leading candidates.
Who should be named the 2022 AP Comeback Player of the Year?
— NFL (@NFL) January 25, 2023
Barkley, once considered the best running back in the league, struggled with multiple major injuries in consecutive seasons.
He bounced back this year by rushing for 1,312 yards on 295 attempts (4.4 yards per carry) and ten touchdowns, adding 57 receptions for 338 yards and making 16 starts this season.
McCaffrey had also spent most of the time on the shelf with countless injuries during his days with the Carolina Panthers.
This season, he rushed the football 244 times for 1,139 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns, adding a whopping 85 receptions for 741 yards and five additional scores.
Last but not least, Geno Smith also made a strong case for himself after being demoted to a backup role for the past six seasons.
He made 17 starts and led the Seahawks to a 9-8 record and a playoff berth, throwing for 4,282 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions on a 69.8% completion rate and running for 366 yards and a touchdown.