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Patterson named first-team All-Pro kick returner

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Cordarrelle Patterson's excellence and versatility on special teams this season was recognized Friday when he was named to the Associated NFL All-Pro Team at two positions.

Patterson was selected first-team All-Pro as a kick returner and second-team All-Pro as a special-teams player, primarily for his performance as a gunner on the punt-coverage team.

A few weeks ago, Patterson was voted to the Pro Bowl as a special-teams player.

In his first season with the Bears, Patterson ranked second in the NFL with a 29.5-yard average on 28 kickoff returns, including a 102-yard touchdown against the Saints. He also led the league with 825 kick-return yards.

This is the third time in seven NFL seasons that Patterson has been named first-team All-Pro and voted to the Pro Bowl. He was previously honored when he played for the Vikings as a rookie in 2013 and again in 2016. Patterson was also selected second-team All-Pro in 2015 and 2018.

Patterson ranks second in NFL history with a 29.9-yard career average, trailing only Bears Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (30.6). Patterson's seven career kickoff return touchdowns are third on the league's all-time list, one behind co-leaders Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington.

Patterson signed with the Bears in March after spending his first six NFL seasons with the Vikings (2013-16), Raiders (2017) and Patriots (2018), winning the Super Bowl last season with New England.

The 6-2, 238-pounder helped the Bears lead the NFL in kickoff return average (26.6 yards) in 2019 after ranking last in the league (19.1) in 2018.

Patterson was named the NFC special teams player of the month for November. In five games, he averaged 29.4 yards on 10 kickoff returns, highlighted by a 57-yarder on the opening kickoff in a 24-20 win over the Lions on Thanksgiving in Detroit.

Patterson also excelled as a gunner this season, a major factor in his selection as the NFC's special-teams player in the Pro Bowl. In a 19-14 win over the Giants Nov. 24 at Soldier Field, he produced three excellent plays.

In the second quarter, Patterson made a touchdown-saving tackle on Jabrill Peppers' 40-yard punt return at the Bears' 29. Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas eventually missed a 42-yard field goal on the drive.

In the fourth period, Patterson caught Pat O'Donnell's 34-yard punt at the Giants' 3 and later dove to keep O'Donnell's 61-yard punt from rolling into the end zone, swatting the ball back while prone to the ground.

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