Favre, Paup Players of Year

NEW YORK -- Brett Favre needed one of the greatest passing seasons in recent years to edge Emmitt Smith as the NFL Offensive Player of the Year. But Favre was already an established star before this season.

Bryce Paup was signed by the Buffalo Bills to be a complementary player. Instead, he turned into the 1995 Defensive Player of the Year in the National Football League.

Paup, an outside linebacker with Green Bay signed as a free agent by the Bills this season, received 73 votes in balloting by 88 U.S. sports writers and broadcasters. The results were announced Thursday.

Paup led the NFL with 17.5 sacks, and with opponents paying more attention to Paup, teammate Bruce Smith had another with 10.5 sacks.

Pittsburgh linebacker Greg Lloyd was second in the balloting with five votes.

Meanwhile, Paup's former Green Bay teammate Favre, who got 38 votes, believes he's only getting started.

"That's what this offense is designed to do," he said. "And I'd like to think that we've finally grasped it, that we've finally caught a hold of it, and hopefully we won't let it go.''

Smith, the Dallas Cowboys' running back, was second with 33 votes.

Favre's 38 touchdown passes were the most ever in the NFC, third only to Dan Marino's seasons of 48 and 44. He passed for 4,413 yards, hitting 359 of 570 (63 percent) and being intercepted just 13 times.