Jordan Hicks could've been ticked off all year.
He could've been angry always, and -- in this world where media relations staffs have to bring guys for interviews without reporters having access to the locker room -- talked to the media far fewer times than he did. He had a roller-coaster of an offseason, most of the time leading to frustration, and yet there he was, answering questions often and thoughtfully -- especially when things fell off late in the season and it gets harder to address the questions.
It's why Hicks was named the Steve Schoenfeld "Good Guy" award winner for 2021, as voted on by the Arizona chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America.
"It's what is expected of me, it's what I expect out of myself," Hicks said Thursday. "I've talked about it many times, it's more than just about me. It's about my family, it's about respect, and representation of who I am and who my family is. It's ingrained in me. I'm here to do my job. At the end of the day, that's what I signed up to do -- hard, easy, indifferent. No matter (my) feelings. That's my approach."
The award was named after Schoenfeld, a talented Arizona Republic Cardinals/NFL writers from 1988-2000, who died tragically in a hit-and-run accident. It goes to a player who is "available, insightful and professional while communicating with reporters both in person and via Zoom throughout the season."
The Cardinals had multiple candidates -- Christian Kirk, Budda Baker among them -- but Hicks stood out with what he went through on his end. He played well too, with a career-best four sacks and 116 tackles, seven for loss, five passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.
Quarterback Kyler Murray was voted the Lloyd Herberg MVP. The award was named after the Arizona's Republic's first Cardinals beat writer when the team moved to Arizona in 1988 who passed away from cancer in 1994.
Murray led the Cardinals to their 11-6 record with a second Pro Bowl season, posting a career-best 100.6 passer rating with 24 touchdown passes and 3,787 yards, and adding 423 rushing yards and five TDs. His completion percentage of 69.2 set a franchise record and the Cards finished eighth in the NFL in total offense.