Chris Johnson unanimous choice for AP All-Pro team
NEW YORK – Chris Johnson didn’t get any votes for MVP. He didn’t miss any for The Associated Press 2009 NFL All-Pro team.
The 2,000-yard rusher from the Tennessee Titans was the only unanimous choice for the squad, announced Thursday. He’s joined in the backfield by Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who won an unprecedented fourth Most Valuable Player Award last week, when only quarterbacks received votes.
“That’d be a good thing,” said Johnson, who won the Offensive Player of the Year award Wednesday. “Because I feel like if you put a season out there, out of those dudes who got votes or the dudes who won, I wouldn’t feel they had a better season than I had, and broke as many records in one season that I had.”
For setting the league mark for yards from scrimmage and becoming the sixth 2,000-yard rusher in NFL history, Johnson got all 50 votes from a nationwide panel of sports writers. One other player, San Francisco inside linebacker Patrick Willis, came close with, appropriately, 49. Cornerbacks Charles Woodson of Green Bay, the Defensive Player of the Year, and Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets each got 48, as did Oakland punter Shane Lechler.
“I just think Patrick is a very unique guy,” 49ers coach Mike Singletary said. “He’s a guy who’s always going to be around the ball. He has the instincts. He has the speed. He can be where he wants to be.”
He’s on the All-Pro team for the second time in his three pro seasons. The other inside linebacker, Baltimore’s Ray Lewis, made it for the seventh time.
Other veteran All-Pros include Manning, chosen for the fifth time, as were Minnesota guard Steve Hutchinson and Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams, and Lechler.
The Vikings had the most players on the team with four – running back Adrian Peterson and defensive end Jared Allen also made it. Next was Indianapolis with three: Manning, tight end Dallas Clark, and DE Dwight Freeney.
New Orleans (guard Jahri Evans and safety Darren Sharper), Dallas (outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff), the Jets (Revis and center Nick Mangold), Denver (tackle Ryan Clady and defensive end Elvis Dumervil) and Cleveland (tackle Joe Thomas and kick returner Joshua Cribbs) had two players.
“To be selected for the All-Pro team is really overwhelming to me,” Clady said. “There are so many great tackles playing right now. To be recognized among them is truly a blessing. I would like to thank my teammates and coaches for this honor.”
In all, there were 15 AFC players and 12 from the NFC selected.
Fourteen players made All-Pro for the first time: Johnson, Revis, Dumervil, Ratliff, Cribbs, Mangold, Evans, Thomas, Clady, Clark, New England receiver Wes Welker, Philadelphia fullback Leonard Weaver, San Diego placekicker Nick Kaeding and Arizona safety Adrian Wilson. Woodson made it for the first time with Green Bay, second time overall; he was an All-Pro in 1999 with Oakland. Sharper made it nine years ago with Green Bay.
Also selected to the team was Houston receiver Andre Johnson for the second time.
Repeaters from last year were Manning, Peterson, Andre Johnson, Hutchinson, Allen, Williams, Ware, Lewis and Lechler.
The New York Giants, Washington, Atlanta, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, St. Louis, Miami, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Pittsburgh had no All-Pros this season.
– AP sportswriters Janie McCauley in San Francisco, Teresa M. Walker in Nashville and Arnie Stapleton in Denver contributed to this story.