[KC Chiefs.com] The Chiefs announced today that linebacker Derrick Johnson was named the winner of the club’s Derrick Thomas Award and linebacker Justin Houston earned the team’s Mack Lee Hill Award. Both honors are voted on by Chiefs players.
As a tribute to the late Derrick Thomas, the Chiefs annual Most Valuable Player Award was renamed in his honor following his death in February of 2000. The Mack Lee Hill Award is presented each year to the Chiefs rookie or first-year player who best exemplifies the spirit of the late Mack Lee Hill, who passed away during his second season with the Chiefs in ’65.
Johnson has been a mainstay for the Chiefs defense since he joined the team as a first-round draft pick in 2005, but his seventh NFL season was by far his most productive. Johnson not only established a new franchise single-season tackle record, but also became the unquestioned on-field leader of the Chiefs defense. He also earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl this season.
After beginning the year as a situational outside linebacker, Houston developed into an every-down player as the season went on. He finished second on the team only to Tamba Hali with 5.5 sacks.
A third-round pick out of Georgia, Houston finished his rookie season with 70 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, a fumble recovery and 12 QB pressures.