Bears’ Cordarrelle Patterson: ‘No surprise’ about Pro Bowl season as returner, gunner

Not that he ever needed the affirmation, but Patterson’s tremendous work on various special teams earned him his third Pro Bowl selection.

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Cordarrelle Patterson leads the NFC at 29.6 yards per kick return.

For the Sun-Times

There aren’t many players of Cordarrelle Patterson’s caliber playing special teams, and even fewer double as both a returner and gunner. Patterson took that challenge this season with the Bears and did it well enough to make the Pro Bowl.

“It’s not a surprise to me, because I know what I can do,” he said. “That’s confidence I’ve had since I was growing up. Anytime my number is called, I can go out there and make a play.”

The Bears took him at his word this season, and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor turned him loose as a gunner and kick return. He is second in the NFL at 29.6 yards per return and had a 102-yard touchdown against the Saints. He also has 151 total yards offensively.

Patterson was a first-round pick as a wide receiver, but has always been uncommonly enthusiastic about pulling double duty on special teams.

“I just love football, man,” he said. “This [stuff] I do day in and day out, I come to work with a smile on my face. Every day I just come out here and have fun, and whenever I’m on the field, I’m gonna go out there and make a play. That’s something I’ve been doing my whole life.”

This Patterson’s third time being selected — he made it as a returner in his all-pro seasons with the Vikings in 2013 and ’16 — and he is eager to enjoy the week in Orlando. He was particularly excited to see former Patriots teammate Matthew Slater, though he’ll withdraw if New England makes the Super Bowl again.

He joked that he’s a little less excited to see his family, which is already planning to swarm Orlando.

“I heard from people I ain’t heard from all year,” Patterson said. “They told me they already got their rooms booked for Orlando. You know how it goes. Family comes out of the woodwork when stuff like this happens.

“Honestly, I’d prefer it to be in Hawaii because then all your family can’t just show up. Just get in the car and drive 5-6 hours and show up. But the whole experience is fun.”

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