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Cohen wins award as top HBCU player 


Bears running back Tarik Cohen, a former North Carolina A&T star, has been named one of two 2018 Black College Football Pro Players of the Year.

The awards are presented by the NFL Players Association and recognize the most outstanding pro players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The other winner is Colts rookie linebacker Darius Leonard, who attended South Carolina State.

"It's a tremendous honor," Cohen said on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access." "We both put in the hard work it took to get to the NFL and we both weren't satisfied with just being in the NFL. We wanted to continue our success, and it's good to see that HBCU players can continue that success on the next level."

Cohen is one of about 30 players from HBCUs on NFL rosters.

As a return specialist in 2018, Cohen was selected first-team All-Pro and voted to his first Pro Bowl after leading the NFL with 411 punt-return yards.

The 2017 fourth-round draft pick also excelled on offense. He rushed for 444 yards and three touchdowns on 99 carries, caught a team-leading 71 passes for 725 yards and five TDs and even threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to rookie Anthony Miller as time expired to force overtime Dec. 2 against the Giants.

Cohen became the second player in NFL history to gain at least 500 yards via rushing, receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns in his first 25 career games.

He led all NFL running backs in 2018 with seven catches of at least 25 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown in a 24-10 win over the Jets Oct. 28 at Soldier Field that was the Bears' longest play from scrimmage of the season.

Cohen's most productive game came against the Giants when he caught 12 passes for 156 yards, rushed for 30 yards on eight carries and threw the TD pass to Miller.

In the process, Cohen joined Hall of Famer Jerry Rice as the only players in NFL history to record at least 150 receiving yards and 12 receptions and throw a touchdown pass in a game.

Cohen's 156 receiving yards were the most by a Bears running back since at least 1960 and the most by an NFL running back during the 2018 season.

According to the HBCU Sports website, the formal presentation of the Black College Football Pro Player of the Year Awards will be made Saturday night at the Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Atlanta.