Cohen named NFC North rookie of year

Posted Jan 16, 2018

ESPN has named Bears running back/return specialist Tarik Cohen the NFC North’s rookie of the year for 2017.

ESPN has named Bears running back/return specialist Tarik Cohen the NFC North's rookie of the year for 2017.

In his first season in Chicago, the fourth-round draft pick displayed the same dazzling moves and game-breaking ability that earned him the nickname "The Human Joystick" during his career at North Carolina A&T.

Cohen rushed for 370 yards and two touchdowns on 87 carries, caught 53 passes for 358 yards and one TD, averaged 9.4 yards with one touchdown on 29 punt returns and averaged 22.4 yards on 26 kickoff returns.

Tarik Cohen
The Bears selected Tarik Cohen with the 119th pick in the draft.

His 53 catches were the third most in Bears history by a rookie behind Matt Forte's 63 in 2008 and Mike Ditka's 56 in 1961.

Cohen also threw a 21-yard TD pass on a halfback option play to tight end Zach Miller in a win over the Ravens, becoming the first Bears rookie running back to throw a touchdown pass since Hall of Famer Gale Sayers in 1965.

In the process, Cohen became the first NFL rookie to generate a touchdown on a rush, reception, pass and punt return in a single season since Sayers in 1965 and the first NFL player to do so since Terry Metcalf in 1975.

Cohen started the year with a bang, compiling 158 all-purpose yards against the Falcons Sept. 10, the most ever by a Bears rookie in a season debut.

Cohen produced the top two plays of the Bears season, as ranked by, with a spectacular 61-yard punt return touchdown Dec. 3 against the 49ers and his TD pass to Miller Oct. 15 in Baltimore.

Cohen was voted as a second-alternate to the Pro Bowl as a return specialist.

Cohen reacted to the honor on Twitter: