Browns cornerback Joe Haden and two Indians players, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and starting pitcher Justin Masterson, are finalists for Professional Athlete of the Year, the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission announced.
The winner will be named Feb. 2 at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards at the Renaissance Hotel. The event will be hosted by ESPNís Erin Andrews.
Haden was the top cornerback for a team that finished the 2011 regular season with the NFLís second-ranked pass defense (184.9 yards allowed per game). He did not record an interception, but he finished sixth in the NFL with 19 passes defensed. He had at least three pass breakups in three games, including a career-high five in the Brownsí season-opening loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Since being drafted seventh overall in 2010, Haden is tied for third in the league with 37 passes defensed.
Last season, Cabrera hit .273 with 25 home runs, 92 RBI and 87 runs scored. He walked 44 times and struck out 119. Cabrera was one of two Indians players who made the American League All-Star team ó the other was closer Chris Perez.
Masterson compiled a record of 12-10 with an ERA of 3.21. In 216 innings pitched, he allowed 211 hits and 77 earned runs. He had 158 strikeouts and 65 walks.
Last year, Browns return man/wide receiver Josh Cribbs was named the Pro Athlete of the Year at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards. Cribbs prevailed against Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas and Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
Several local athletes were nominated for other awards.
The University of Akron menís soccer team, Kent State University wrestler Dustin Kilgore and former Cleveland State University basketball player Norris Cole are finalists for Collegiate Athlete of the Year.
USA Wrestling standout Harry Lester, an Akron native and graduate of Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, is a finalist for Amateur Athlete of the Year, along with USA Track and Field sprinter Jessica Beard of Euclid and USA Masters Track and Field sprinter Stephen Robbins of Cleveland Heights.
Cavaliers legend Austin Carr will receive the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award.