Leslie Frazier was named one of two winners Monday of the 2022 Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award, which is chosen by members of the Professional Football Writers of America and is given for lifetime achievement as an assistant coach in the NFL.
Frazier, who is entering his sixth season as the Buffalo Bills’ defensive coordinator, and the late Greg Knapp, former passing game coordinator for the New York Jets, became the 19th and 20 recipients of the Dr. Z Award, which was instituted by the PFWA in 2014. The award is named after Zimmerman, who covered the NFL for nearly 30 years as Sports Illustrated’s lead football writer.
Frazier is entering his 24th season as a coach in the NFL. He’s also served as the Bills’ assistant head coach since 2020. Last year, Buffalo had the No. 1 defense in both yards and points allowed, and have ranked in the top five in total yards allowed in three of the past four seasons.
Frazier had a six-year playing career with the Chicago Bears, and was part of the Super Bowl XX-winning team, and broke into the NFL as a coach with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999. He has also worked for the Bengals, Colts, Vikings, Buccaneers and Ravens. In Minnesota, he worked as the defensive coordinator from 2007-10 before taking over as the interim head coach for the final six games of the 2010 season. He was named permanent head coach after that season, and worked in that role from 2011-13. He was part of the Colts’ coaching staff when Indianapolis won Super Bowl XLI.
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Knapp had just started his 26th season as an NFL assistant coach when he was killed in a bicycle accident in July 2021. Other nominees included long-time Steelers linebackers coach and defensive coordinator Keith butler, late defensive line coach Bobb McKittrick and late defensive coordinator Floyd Peters.