The postseason honors just keep coming for Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who was named the NFL’s Most Improved Player of the Year by the Professional Football Writers of America on Friday.
Jeffery, who was named to the Pro Bowl team as a replacement for injured wide receiver Calvin Johnson, had 89 receptions for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013. He was sixth in the NFL in receiving yards, 10th in receptions, eighth in average yards per catch (among receivers with 50 or more catches), tied for sixth with 20 receptions of 20 or more yards and tied for 23rd in touchdowns.
As a rookie in 2012, Jeffery had 24 receptions for 367 yards (15.3 yards per catch) and three touchdowns in 10 games (six starts). He missed six games because of injuries.
The 23-year-old Jeffery, a second-round pick from South Carolina in 2012, twice broke the Bears’ all-time record for receiving yards in a game. He had 10 receptions for 218 yards against the Saints on Oct. 6 to break Harlon Hill’s record of 214 yards set in 1954. He broke his own record when he had 12 receptions for 249 yards against the Vikings at the Metrodome on Dec. 1.
Previous winners of the award include Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (2012), Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (2011), Texans running back Arian Foster (2010) and Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams (2009).
The PFWA also honored Panthers coach Ron Rivers (Coach of the Year), Chiefs general manager John Dorsey (Executive of the Year), Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (Comeback Player of the Year) and former Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt (Assistant Coach of the Year).