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Berry Earns Derrick Thomas Award; Hill Awarded Mack Lee Hill Honor

Posted Feb 26, 2017

The Kansas City Chiefs announced on Sunday that safety Eric Berry was named the winner of the club’s Derrick Thomas Award and wide receiver/return specialist Tyreek Hill earned the team’s Mack Lee Hill Award for the 2016 season. This marks Berry’s third postseason recognition after being awarded the Derrick Thomas Award last season alongside quarterback Alex Smith as well as earning the Mack Lee Hill Award after his rookie season in 2010. Both honors were voted on by all Chiefs players and will officially be presented at the 47th annual 101 Awards this evening. The Derrick Thomas Award serves as the team’s vote for most valuable player and the Mack Lee Hill Award is given to the club’s top rookie performer.

Berry (6-0, 212) appeared in 16 games (16 starts) this season. He finished second on the team with 77 tackles (62 solo), recorded nine passes defensed, one forced fumble and four interceptions, two returned for TDs – one at Carolina on Nov. 13, and then again on Dec. 4, at Atlanta, where picked up AFC Defensive Player of the Week after each performance. He was selected to his fifth Pro Bowl following the 2016 season. Berry’s other trips to the NFL’s annual all-star game came following his rookie year (2010), 2012, 2013 and 2015 seasons. Berry earned All-Pro honors from the Associated Press, and was named to the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) All-NFL Team following the 2016 season, joining Travis Kelce, Marcus Peters and Tyreek Hill. The safety was honored with the AP’s Comeback Player of the Year Award as well as being the recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award following the 2015 season after overcoming Hodgkin’s lymphoma and making one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history.

The seventh-year veteran is a Fairburn, Ga., native, who entered the league as the fifth-overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Chiefs. The former University of Tennessee standout has accumulated 429 tackles (361 solo), 5.5 sacks, 14 interceptions, 53 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in his NFL career.

Hill (5-10, 185) was Kansas City’s fifth-round pick (165th overall) in the 2016 NFL draft. In his first professional season, the rookie led the league in punt return yards (592), while tying Abner Haynes’ mark of 12 total touchdowns for a franchise rookie record. Hill was named a first-team All-Pro punt returner by the Associated Press and was voted All-Pro punt returner by Sporting News following the 2016 regular season.

During his rookie season, Hill was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week on Nov. 30, after his performance at Denver and was twice named AFC Special Teams player of the Week: first on Dec. 14, following Week 14 versus Oakland and once more on Jan. 4, 2017, after the final regular season game against San Diego. Following a breakout performance in Week 12 at Denver, he became the first player to record a rushing touchdown, a receiving touchdown and a kick return touchdown in a single game since Gale Sayers accomplished the feat in 1965 against the Minnesota Vikings. Joining a trio of Chiefs, Hill was named to the PFWA All-NFL Team and was additionally named to the 2017 Pro Bowl following his rookie campaign. The Pearson, Ga., native gathered All-AFC accolades from the PFWA as a kick returner and punt returner and was named to the All-Rookie team. Additionally, the former West Alabama product served as a special teams captain in 2016 prior to his first playoff appearance against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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