View Full Version : KCCHIEFS: LJ Voted Derrick Thomas Winner, DJ Win Mack Lee Hill Award

Fire Me Boy!
01-02-2006, 05:23 PM
Jan 02, 2006, 1:07:50 PM

Kansas City Chiefs President Carl Peterson announced on Monday that RB Larry Johnson has been named the club’s 2005 Derrick Thomas Award winner and LB Derrick Johnson earned honors as the team’s Mack Lee Hill Award winner. Both awards are voted on by Chiefs players and will be presented at the 36th annual 101 Banquet on March 4th.

As a tribute to the late Derrick Thomas, the Chiefs annual Most Valuable Player Award was renamed in his honor following his tragic death in February of 2000. The Mack Lee Hillljdtaward Award is presented each year to the Chiefs rookie or first-year player who best exemplifies the spirit of the late Mack Lee Hill, who passed away during his second season with the Chiefs in ‘65.

In just his third NFL season, Larry Johnson (6-1, 230) emerged as one of the league’s top rushers in 2005 and enjoyed one of the most productive seasons by a RB in Chiefs history. At just 26 years old, Johnson is the youngest player to win the Derrick Thomas Award since DE Neil Smith claimed the honor in ‘92. He is also the first player with three or fewer years of experience to be voted Chiefs MVP since the award’s namesake, LB Derrick Thomas claimed the title as a third-year pro following the ‘91 season.

After taking over the starting RB duties vs. Oakland (11/6), Johnson was nothing short of phenomenal. Named to his initial Pro Bowl this season, Johnson led the AFC and ranked third in the NFL with a franchise record 1,750 rushing yards. That rushing yardage total surpassed the previous record of 1,615 yards established by RB Priest Holmes in 2002.

Johnson ripped off 100 rushing yards or more in all nine of his starts this season, producing 261 carries for 1,351 yards (150.1 ypg) and 16 TDs in those games. His 1,351 rushing yards and 1,627 yards from scrimmage were both the highest totals in the NFL since November 1st. His 1,351 rushing yards were also the most by any player in NFL history in a season after November 1st. Only Seattle RB Shaun Alexander (28) produced more rushing TDs than Johnson (20) over the entire season. Johnson averaged a remarkable 150.1 rushing ypg in nine starts this season. Projected over an entire 16-game schedule, those numbers would translate into 2,402 rushing yards or 297 yards more than the NFL single-season record of 2,105 established by Hall of Fame RB Eric Dickerson with the L.A. Rams in ‘84.

En route to claiming the Chiefs MVP award Johnson also earned AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors for the month of November, as well as two AFC Offensive Player of the Week accolades. His first Player of the Week honor came after setting a Chiefs single-game record with 211 rushing yards at Houston (11/20).

In 32 career games (12 starts), Johnson has totaled 476 carries for 2,416 yards (5.1 avg.) with 30 TDs, as well as 56 catches for 623 yards and three TDs. The State College, Pennsylvania native entered the league as the Chiefs first-round draft pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. The Penn State alum prepped at State College Area High School.

Derrick Johnson (6-3, 242) started all 16 games for the Chiefs this season, becoming the first rookie linebacker to open every game since Dino Hackett in ‘85. This is the seventh consecutive season that a defensive player has won the Mack Lee Hill Award. Johnson finished third on the team with 110 tackles (84 solo), including one for a loss. Johnson also ranked third among the Chiefs with nine passes defensed and registered 2.0 sacks, 10 QB pressures, one fumble recovery and a two forced fumbles. Johnson also contributed six special teams tackles in 2005. His 110 tackles are the fourth-highest total by a rookie in Chiefs franchise history.

Johnson burst on the scene in 2005 with one of his best games in his first-ever NFL contest. In the season opener vs. the N.Y. Jets (9/11) the speedy playmaker racked up eight tackles (seven solo) with a sack and strip of QB Chad Pennington, two QB pressures and a pass defensed. He also became the first Chiefs rookie linebacker to start on Opening Day since Percy Snow did it vs. Minnesota (9/9/90).

A native of Waco, Texas, Johnson joined the Chiefs as the club’s first-round selection (15th overall) in the 2005 NFL Draft. As a senior at Texas, Johnson was the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the top collegiate defensive player as well as the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker. A two-time All-America selection, Johnson appeared in 50 games (40 starts), registering 458 tackles (281 solo), a school-record 65.0 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks and 10 INTs for 199 yards with a touchdown. He also posted five fumble recoveries, 11 forced fumbles, 39 QB pressures and 30 passes defensed.

The 36th annual Football 101 Awards Dinner will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2006 at the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City. The Chiefs will honor their Derrick Thomas MVP Award winner and Mack Lee Hill Rookie of the Year recipient as well as inducting a new member into the Chiefs Hall of Fame. The AFC/NFC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year and Coach of the Year will be honored during the banquet as well. Tickets and sponsorships to the 101 Awards Dinner are available by calling: (816) 920-4409.