Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

The ace of the Bears' much-improved third phase, Cordarrelle Patterson on Friday was named a member of the 2019 Associated Press All Pro team as the first-team kick returner and second-team special teamer.

A seven-year veteran, Patterson is an AP All Pro for the fifth time, and in November he became the first Bear since Devin Hester to earn Special Teams Player of the Month, after taking his seventh career kickoff back for a touchdown. His next kickoff return TD would tie Patterson with Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington for the most ever.

Signed last offseason to a two-year, $10 million deal to energize the NFL's worst kickoff return unit in football in 2018, Patterson led the league with 825 yards and finished first in the NFC with a 29.5-yard average on 28 kickoff returns. Considering he's No. 2 on the all-time list with a 29.9-yard career clip, trailing only Bears legend Gale Sayers, Patterson's success, while undoubtedly impressive, perhaps wasn't shocking.

More surprising and at least equally impressive, Patterson got the second-team nod for his work as a gunner on punt coverage, with five tackles — trailing only Nick Kwiatkoski and Sherrick McManis — and several downed punts near the goal line, including two clutch ones inside the 10-yard line to help the Bears beat the Giants in Week 12.

"What he did today on special teams was second to none," Matt Nagy said afterward. "The way that field position flipped, for him to get down there and make those plays, watching him there on the Gunner, running downfield, making plays, and then he made that saving tackle there on the one punt return, I had a click of it, he jumped out of nowhere and made a saving tackle. I really appreciate that. That's who he is. He takes a lot of pride in how he does that."

The Bears might not have maximized Patterson's unique blend of speed and strength on offense, where the contributed 28 touches for 186 yards from scrimmage, but he was even better than advertised on special teams.

Patterson, who was also recently named to the Pro Bowl, suffered a concussion during the regular-season finale in Minnesota. He's the Bears' lone AP All-Pro representative, after the team led the NFL with four selectees last season.