From a breakthrough quarterback to a unanimous choice. From two brothers to four rookies for the first time — two from the same club, no less. The Associated Press 2018 All-Pro Team has something for everyone.
Patrick Mahomes and three other Chiefs players made the squad, where they were joined by the first rookie teammates since 1965 — Colts left guard Quenton Nelson and linebacker Darius Leonard. The last time that occurred it was two future Hall of Famers, the Bears’ Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers.
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald was the only unanimous choice in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league.
(See complete list below)
Mahomes, Kansas City’s second-year sensation, drew 45 votes at quarterback and was joined by teammates Travis Kelce at tight end, Tyreek Hill as the flex player, and Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle.
Kelce’s brother, Eagles center Jason, also made the team.
‘‘For me and my brother to both get it, it’s that much more special because I still remember us in the back yard fighting with each other, playing football growing up and we envisioned each other competing at the highest level, competing against the best players,’’ Jason said. ‘‘And for both of us to be recognized as one of those guys is pretty special.’’
Joining Nelson and Leonard as rookies on the team were Seahawks punter Michael Dickson and Chargers safety Derwin James.
Chicago also had four All-Pros: edge rusher Khalil Mack, cornerback Kyle Fuller, safety Eddie Jackson, and punt returner Tarik Cohen.
Two players made All-Pro for the fifth time: Houston edge rusher J.J. Watt and Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly.
The All-Pro team was split: 14 AFC and 14 NFC members, with 16 newcomers.
Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins got the most votes on offense with 46.
‘‘This is validation,’’ Hopkins said. ‘‘I feel like these people are the people who actually know football, who study football, who have been around football for years. So to be on this list and to be first team is a great feeling. But it makes me want to work harder and continue to be on that list.’’
Jets interview ex-Dolphins coach
The Jets have interviewed former Dolphins coach Adam Gase for their head coaching vacancy.
Gase is the second known meeting New York has had as it looks for a replacement for Todd Bowles, who was fired last Sunday night after he went 24-40 in four seasons.
The Jets spoke with Gase on Friday after interviewing Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy in Kansas City on Wednesday.
Gase was 23-26 in three seasons with Miami, including a playoff game in 2016, before being fired Monday. Gase, 40, worked as an assistant with Detroit, San Francisco, and Denver before being promoted to offensive coordinator by the Broncos in 2013 and drawing rave reviews from Peyton Manning.
Gase followed coach John Fox to Chicago in 2015 to be the Bears’ offensive coordinator. He was hired by the Dolphins as their head coach the following season.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins began their search met Friday with Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores and Bieniemy.
Bieniemy is in his sixth season with the Chiefs and his first as offensive coordinator. This season they led the NFL in points and yards.
Gase, fired Monday after three seasons, led the Dolphins to the playoffs in his first year. That isn’t likely to happen with the new coach.
Miami has finished with six to eight wins in nine of the past 10 years, and hasn’t won a playoff game since 2000. As a result, 78-year-old owner Stephen Ross said, his win-now approach will change.
‘‘I would hope I don’t have to go 3-13,’’ Ross said this week. ‘‘But whatever it’s going to take, we’re going to build the organization with the right players.’’
Elway considers Munchak
John Elway met with Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak about the Broncos’ vacant head coaching position, one Hall of Famer to another.
Munchak met with Elway at Broncos headquarters just as former Colts coach Chuck Pagano did Wednesday before Elway flew to Los Angeles to interview Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor on Thursday.
Elway is scheduled to meet with Flores on Saturday and Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio on Monday.
If Elway is sold on one of those five candidates, he’s expected to move quickly and name his fourth head coach in six seasons next week.
Elway fired Vance Joseph on Monday after the Broncos posted back-to-back seasons of double-digit losses for the first time since the 1960s.
Munchak was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection as a guard for the Houston Oilers from 1982-93 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001. After his playing career, he joined the Oilers’ coaching staff in 1994, beginning a two-decade career that included a stint as head coach from 2011-13.
He went 22-26 as the Titans’ head coach before spending the last five seasons coaching Pittsburgh’s offensive line. The Steelers have compiled a 54-25-1 record over that span.
Browns eye Saints assistant
The Browns took their coaching search on the road to interview New Orleans tight ends coach Dan Campbell.
The 42-year-old Campbell met with Browns general manager John Dorsey and other members of Cleveland’s front office while the Saints practiced during their bye week in the NFL playoffs.
Campbell, who played for 11 seasons in the league, served as Miami’s interim coach for the last 12 games in 2015. That stint earned him widespread respect and resulted in him being pursued by other teams. He’s officially listed as an assistant head coach with the Saints.
Campbell is the fourth candidate to meet with Dorsey, who is expected to conduct interviews through the weekend. Earlier this week, the Browns interviewed interim coach Gregg Williams, former Indianapolis and Detroit coach Jim Caldwell, and Minnesota interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski.
Williams led Cleveland to five wins in eight games this season.
Jackson a game-time decision
The Bears will wait until right before game time for Sunday’s playoff matchup against the Eagles to make a determination on the availability of safety Eddie Jackson.
Jackson was officially listed as questionable Friday on the final injury report after he went through a second straight limited practice. He hasn’t had a full practice since before the Dec. 16 game against Green Bay when he suffered a right ankle injury.
‘‘We'll just continue talking to him, see where he’s at, but it’s literally gonna go right up until (a) game-time decision,’’ Bears coach Matt Nagy said. ‘‘If he’s good, let’s go. If not, then we won't. We’re going to be smart with him.’’
Named All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl, Jackson has been out since making his sixth interception of the season. His pick in the end zone ended Aaron Rodgers’s streak of 402 passes without an interception in the Bears 24-17 win over the Packers in mid-December. He was injured with an awkward attempt to stop and down the ball after returning it 13 yards.
The Bears started third-year backup Deon Bush in the last two games at Jackson’s safety position.
Chargers wait and see
The Chargers will wait until Saturday before deciding if tight end Hunter Henry will be added to the roster for the postseason.
The third-year player returned to practice Dec. 17 and took part in team drills this week as the Chargers prepared for Sunday’s AFC wild-card game at Baltimore. Henry tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during an offseason workout, is currently on the physically unable to perform list, and does not count against the 53-man roster.
The Chargers (12-4) will have a walkthrough in Baltimore on Saturday and have until 4 p.m. to make a roster move if they decide to play him. If Henry is not activated and Los Angeles defeats Baltimore, the Chargers would need to decide by Monday whether to place him on the roster or injured reserve. Teams have a 21-day window to make a decision once a player on the PUP list starts practicing.
Henry, the team’s second-round pick in 2016, was injured while running a route during a noncontact drill on May 22, the first day of organized team activities. He had surgery two weeks later and has been on the PUP list since the start of training camp.
Over his first two seasons, he has 81 receptions for 1,057 yards and 12 touchdowns and was expected to have a bigger role in the offense before the injury.
TV numbers up everywhere
All of the NFL television partners have reason to be happy at the end of the regular season — all five packages showed increases following years of declines.
The league showed a 5 percent increase this season as an average of 15.8 million viewers tuned into non-London games. It was a year largely devoid of off-field controversy after ratings decreased 9.7 percent last season and 8 percent in 2016.
The biggest improvement belonged to ESPN’s ‘‘Monday Night Football,’’ which was up 8 percent over last season. The most-watched game was the Nov. 17 matchup between the Chiefs and Rams, which attracted 16.7 million viewers. The game was originally scheduled for Mexico City, but it was moved to Los Angeles due to poor field conditions at Azteca Stadium. The Rams won, 54-51, in the highest-scoring game in the series’ 49-season history.
The CBS Sunday afternoon package and NBC’s ‘‘Sunday Night Football’’ both experienced 6 percent gains. CBS averaged 16.5 million viewers, and had three of the five most-watched games. The Nov. 22 Thanksgiving game between Chicago and Detroit averaged 26.6 million, which was second across the league. Two games featuring the Steelers — Dec. 16 vs. New England (24.6 million) and Dec. 23 at New Orleans (24 million) — also placed in the top five.
Steelers can Porter
The Steelers have parted ways with outside linebackers coach Joey Porter, announcing Friday that his contract would not be renewed. The move is the first of what could be several coaching adjustments by the Steelers after Pittsburgh failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
The 41-year-old Porter, who spent 13 seasons in the NFL before going into coaching, joined the Steelers as a defensive assistant in 2014 and was promoted to outside linebackers coach in 2015. His tenure with the team was marred by an incident in January 2017 when he was arrested following an altercation with a bouncer at a bar. Most of the charges against Porter were later dropped.
2018 NFL ALL-PRO TEAM
The Associated Press 2018 NFL All-Pro team, as selected by a national panel of 50 media members:
Quarterback — Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City. Running back — Todd Gurley, L.A. Rams. Flex — Tyreek Hill, Kansas City. Tight end — Travis Kelce, Kansas City. Wide receivers — Michael Thomas, New Orleans; DeAndre Hopkins, Houston. Left tackle — David Bakhtiari, Green Bay. Right tackle — Mitchell Schwartz, Kansas City. Left guard — Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis. Right guard — Zack Martin, Dallas. Center — Jason Kelce, Philadelphia.
Edge rushers — J.J. Watt, Houston; Khalil Mack, Chicago. Interior linemen — Aaron Donald, L.A. Rams; Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia. Linebackers — Luke Kuechly, Carolina; Bobby Wagner, Seattle; Darius Leonard, Indianapolis. Cornerbacks — Kyle Fuller, Chicago; Stephon Gilmore, New England. Safeties — Eddie Jackson, Chicago; Derwin James, L.A. Chargers. Defensive back — Desmond King, L.A. Chargers.
Kicker — Justin Tucker, Baltimore. Punter — Michael Dickson, Seattle. Kick returner — Andre Roberts, N.Y. Jets. Punt returner — Tarik Cohen, Chicago. Special teamer — Adrian Phillips, L.A. Chargers.
QB — Drew Brees, New Orleans. RB — Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas. Flex — Christian McCaffrey, Carolina. Tight end — George Kittle, San Francisco. WR — Julio Jones, Atlanta. Flex — Tyreek Hill, Kansas City. LT — Duane Brown, Seattle, and Terron Armstead, New Orleans. RT — Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans. LG — Joel Bitonio, Cleveland. RG — Marshal Yanda, Baltimore. C — Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh.
Edge rushers — Von Miller, Denver; Cameron Jordan, New Orleans; Myles Garrett, Cleveland; and Danielle Hunter, Minnesota. Interior linemen — Chris Jones, Kansas City; J.J. Watt, Houston. Linebackers — Von Miller, Denver; C.J. Mosley, Baltimore; Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas. Cornerbacks — Byron Jones, Dallas; Xavien Howard, Miami. Safety — Jamal Adams, N.Y. Jets; Harrison Smith, Minnesota. Defensive back — Derwin James, L.A. Chargers.
Kicker — Aldrick Rosas, N.Y. Giants. Punter — Johnny Hekker, L.A. Rams. Kick returner — Cordarrelle Patterson, New England. Punt returner — Desmond King, L.A. Chargers. Special teamer — Cory Littlejohn, L.A. Rams.