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NEW ORLEANS -- Outside linebacker Aldon Smith has never won an team MVP award at any level of athletics.
Or, at least he could not remember any such accolades from his past.
Smith, who set a 49ers record with 19.5 sacks in the regular season, was voted as the winner of the Bill Walsh Award for the team's most valuable player, coach Jim Harbaugh revealed on Monday. Players and coaches voted for the award.
"I don't know how many guys we had named to the Pro Bowl (nine) on our team, but to get over them, that means a lot," Smith said.
Although Smith has not recorded a sack over the past five games, Smith played well enough in the NFC Championship Game to earn a game ball for his his performance.
"(He had) a number of pressures and hurries and really played the run extremely well," Harbaugh said. "(He) recovered the fumble and overall it was a thorough, thorough game from Aldon."
Smith figures to be a huge key for the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens. His ability to get pressure on Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco can pay dividends for the 49ers' secondary.
"You see guys try to chip him and double-team him and slow him down as much as they can, but it's very hard when you have a monster of a D-end like we have in Aldon Smith," 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown said.
"There are a lot more guys coming to block me," Smith said. "I'm getting double-teamed a lot, triple-teamed at times, and then the quarterbacks are getting the ball out fast. Another thing that's really cool about that is if I'm not making a play, a lot of times I'm getting double-teamed a sack comes from somebody else. I might not get it, but at the end of the day the stats still say it's a sack."
Smith said he placed his vote for veteran receiver Randy Moss. Why Randy Moss?
"I've always been a fan," said Smith, who had a Moss jersey when he was a kid.
Bill Walsh Awards
2004: DT Bryant Young
2005: LB Derek Smith, K Joe Nedney
2006: RB Frank Gore, CB Walt Harris
2007: CB Nate Clements, LB Patrick Willis
2008: DT Justin Smith
2009: LB Patrick Willis
2010: RB Frank Gore
2011: DT Justin Smith
2012: OLB Aldon Smith