Eight months after his team surrendered two first-round picks and a third to take a player at the same position, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was recognized for a career season by winning the Derrick Thomas Team MVP Award.
Running back Kareem Hunt was also honored Wednesday, as he was chosen as the Mack Lee Hill Rookie of the Year after leading the NFL in rushing with 1,327 yards.
The awards are voted on by Chiefs players, and this marks the second time Smith has won the award outright, as he and safety Eric Berry shared it in 2015.
Smith, 33, set career-highs with 4,042 passing yards and 26 touchdowns while throwing just five interceptions in 15 games this season, despite the team’s decision to move up and select quarterback Patrick Mahomes 10th overall in the 2017 draft. Smith also led the league with a 104.7 passer rating and was tied for second with 13 touchdowns of 20 yards or more. Smith, a 13-year veteran, was also chosen as a Pro Bowl alternate.
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Hunt, a third-round pick this year, emerged as a legitimate star following the season-ending knee injury to running back Spencer Ware in the preseason. Hunt became only the sixth rookie to lead the NFL in rushing, and he also surpassed Joe Delaney’s 1981 season for most rushing yards by a Chiefs rookie running back. Hunt is also the third Chiefs runner to lead the league in rushing, joining Priest Holmes in 2001 and Christian Okoye in 1989.
Hunt also finished with eight rushing touchdowns, 455 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns.
Both players will be presented with their awards at the 48th annual 101 Awards on Feb. 24.
Other recipients of the annual 101 Awards, the nation’s longest-running salute to professional football, were also announced Wednesday.
The Los Angeles Rams swept the three NFC awards, with running back Todd Gurley (offense) and defensive tackle Aaron Donald winning player of the year honors and Sean McVay named NFC coach of the year.
AFC winners were Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown as offensive player of the year, Jacksonville Jaguars end Calais Campbell as defensive player of the year and the Jaguars’ Doug Marrone as coach of the year.