Four Bears players on Friday were named first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press: outside linebacker Khalil Mack, cornerback Kyle Fuller, safety Eddie Jackson and punt returner Tarik Cohen.
Mack, who was acquired Sept 1 in a blockbuster trade with the Raiders, led the Bears with 12.5 sacks, a career-high six forced fumbles and 18 quarterback hits. He also ranked second with 10 tackles-for-loss. The fifth-year pro was voted to his fourth straight Pro Bowl.
Mack’s 12.5 sacks were the most by a Bears player since Hall of Famer Richard Dent also had 12.5 sacks in 1993. Mack’s 12.5 sacks tied for the third most in franchise history behind Dent’s 17.5 in 1984 and 17.0 in 1985.
Mack was named the NFC defensive player of the month for September after registering five sacks, four forced fumbles and returning an interception 27 yards for a touchdown in the season opener against the Packers.
“It means a lot,” Mack said. “It speaks volumes to the guys around here, the coaches as well, coach Vic [Fangio], coach [Brandon] Staley, and my teammates as well. Everybody has a hand in that.”
Fuller tied for the NFL lead with a career-high seven interceptions, the most by a Bears player since Tim Jennings led the league with nine in 2012. Fuller also topped the NFL with 21 pass breakups.
Jackson recorded a career-high six interceptions and scored three touchdowns on two interception returns and a fumble return. His five defensive TDs since joining the Bears in 2017 as a fourth-round pick are tied for the most by a player in his first two NFL seasons (with the Jets’ Erik McMillan in 1988-89).
Cohen led the NFL with 411 punt-return yards and ranked fifth in the NFL with a 12.5-yard average on a league-leading 33 returns.
“I’m honored,” Cohen said. “I feel like it’s more of a unit accomplishment that goes for the whole return unit.”
Cohen has been an impact player since he was selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2017 draft out of North Carolina A&T.
As a rookie, he 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, averaged 22.4 yards on 26 kickoff returns and even threw a TD pass on a halfback option play.
In the process he became the first NFL rookie since Bears Hall of Famer Gale Sayers to produce touchdowns as a rusher, receiver, passer and punt returner in a single season.
This year Cohen became the second player in NFL history to gain at least 500 yards via rushing, receiving, on punt returns and on kickoff returns in his first 25 games, joining the Patriots’ Mack Herron in 1973-74.
“Coming into the draft I had doubts about the jump to the next level,” Cohen said Friday. “I wasn’t at the highest level in college, so to jump to the highest level, I had doubts. But then I got into camp and I got into the flow of things.
“I wasn’t doubting myself where it hindered my performance. It was just in the back of my mind. But I went through with it and succeeded.”
Fuller, Jackson and Cohen were all voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time in their careers this season.
The Bears did not have a player selected first-team All-Pro the previous five seasons. Each of the last two times they had at least four players chosen, they reached the Super Bowl.
Dent, running back Walter Payton, tackle Jimbo Covert, defensive tackle Steve McMichael and middle linebacker Mike Singletary were tabbed in 1985 when the Bears beat the Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX.
And center Olin Kreutz, middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, return specialist Devin Hester and kicker Robbie Gould were selected in 2006 when the Bears lost to the Colts 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI.