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Khalil Mack, Cordarrelle Patterson among 4 Bears players to make NFL 2010s All-Decade Team

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The four Bears stars have been awarded one of the highest honors an NFL player can possibly receive.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears have four representatives on the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team, which was released on Monday.

Two current Bears were voted in, with Khalil Mack and Cordarrelle Patterson making appearances as a linebacker and a kick returner, respectively. They were joined by two former Bears, kick returner Devin Hester and defensive end Julius Peppers.

Mack was acquired by the Bears in a trade with the Raiders prior to the 2018 season after spending the first four years of his career in Oakland, where he made three Pro Bowls and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2016. In his two seasons with Chicago thus far, he has made back-to-back Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro in 2018. He has tallied 21 sacks and 11 forced fumbles in that timeframe.

Patterson has only spent one season with the Bears, having signed a two-year deal with the team last March. He made an indelible mark on their special teams unit, though, as he was a dominant force as a kick returner and as a gunner. He led the NFL with 825 return yards and placed second with an average of 29.5 yards per return, returning one kickoff for a touchdown. Prior to arriving in the Windy City, Patterson played for the Vikings, Raiders and Patriots, where he returned six kicks for touchdowns. He currently has the second-highest yards-per-return rate of all-time with 29.8, trailing only Bears legend Gale Sayers.

Before Patterson came to terrorize the league as a returner, Hester made a name for himself by doing so. Though the bulk of his production came in the 2000s, he was still a productive returner when the new decade rolled around. He was named a Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro in 2010, when he returned three punts for a touchdown and led the league with 17.1 yards per punt return. He followed that up by returning two punts and a kickoff the following year, earning a second-team All-Pro nod in the process. Hester returned a punt for a touchdown in 2013 and led the league in kick return yards that same year before he signed with the Falcons as a free agent in 2014. He added another Pro Bowl to his resume that year, leading the league with 1128 kick return yards and scoring a touchdown on a punt return which broke the all-time record for most return touchdowns in a career.

Peppers was already a well-established force by the time he came to Chicago in 2010, having made five Pro Bowls with the Panthers in the 2000s. He brought that rare combination of size, strength and athleticism to the Bears, as he tallied 37.5 sacks in his four seasons with the team. He was named a Pro Bowler in his first three years in Chicago and made two All-Pro appearances: a first-team nod in 2010, and a second-team appearance in 2012. He started and played in 64 games with the Bears, maintaining reliability and dominance as a pass-rusher for the team. While he was released in 2014 to create cap space, Peppers went on to spend five more years in the league, spending three with the Packers before returning to Carolina for the last two years of his career. He made a Pro Bowl with Green Bay in 2015 and was a reliable sack artist in the twilight of an illustrious career that places him fourth all-time in sacks with 159.5.

Being named to the All-Decade Team is a tremendous honor for an NFL player, and making an appearance on the list typically indicates a Hall of Fame induction is likely. While Hester and Patterson face a steeper road to Canton as specialists than Mack and Peppers do, all four Bears players will forever live on in history.