The Kansas City Chiefs handed out a couple of team awards on Saturday, one for the team's MVP and one of the rookie of the year.
The Derrick Thomas Award is given annually to the team's most valuable player, and Jamaal Charles walked away with the award for the fourth time in five seasons. The Mack Lee Hill Award goes to the top newcomer on the team and AP readers correctly called the winner, Marcus Cooper. In a recent poll, 60 percent of readers thought Cooper deserved the honor.
From the official press release:
Charles (5-11, 199) led the Chiefs in rushing yards (1,287), receiving yards (693), yards from scrimmage (1,980) and total touchdowns (19) in 2013. His total yards from scrimmage ranked second in the league and his total rushing yards ranked third in the NFL after competing in just 15 contests. Charles totaled more than 100 scrimmage yards in each of the first eight games and had at least one touchdown in seven straight games to start the 2013 season. Pro Football Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson is the only player in NFL history to record more games with 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. In his career, Charles has recorded 29 rushing touchdowns, with a career-high of 12 coming this season alone. His 12 rushing scores tied for first in the NFL in 2013. Charles became the fifth player in Chiefs history to record at least 1,000 carries and he is just 248 yards shy of setting the franchise record for most career rushing yards. Charles currently holds the highest career rushing average in the NFL (5.58) for backs with at least 1,000 attempts, leading a high powered group that includes Hall of Fame running backs Jim Brown and Barry Sanders, as well as Adrian Peterson.
The sixth-year player was named first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press following the 2013 season, marking the second time he has earned that recognition in his career and made his third trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. The Port Arthur, Texas, native and former Longhorn has solidified his spot as one of the top running backs in the National Football League.
Cooper (6-2,192) was originally drafted by San Francisco in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Kansas City claimed Cooper off of waivers on September 1, in what is referred to as the team's "second draft" by General Manager John Dorsey and his personnel department. In his first year in the NFL, Cooper played in all 16 games, making six starts during the season for the Chiefs. He set a new franchise record for most passes defensed by a rookie with 20 in the 2013 season, recording a single-game career-high of four vs. Oakland (10/13). Additionally, he tied for second on the team with three interceptions, returning those for 32 yards. In total, he recorded 41 tackles (38 solo), and registered a forced fumble on defense that was recovered by a teammate for a touchdown at Buffalo (11/3).
He totaled three tackles in the return game, but more impressively, recovered a muffed punt in the end zone for his first career touchdown at Tennessee (10/6). In his time at Rutgers, Cooper made the transition from wide receiver to cornerback, playing in 43 games for the Scarlet Knights (2008-12) and recording 88 tackles, an interception, two fumble recoveries and six passes defensed. The Bloomfield, Conn., native prepped at Bloomfield High School.