DALLAS (AP) — Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu has won The Associated Press 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, edging Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews.

Polamalu received 17 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who cover the league, edging Matthews by two votes.

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Despite missing two games, in which Pittsburgh went 1-1, Polamalu becomes the sixth Steeler to win the award. He had seven interceptions this season along with 63 tackles, but made his mark with big plays.

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In a late-season victory at Baltimore, his leaping tackle forced a fumble that set up the winning touchdown. That victory catapulted the Steelers to the AFC North title.

Now, they are in the Super Bowl — against Matthews’ Packers.

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(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)