McCaffrey a double All-Pro pick; Gilmore, Thomas unanimous

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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) and Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) speak following an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

NEW YORK, NY – Christian McCaffrey's versatility and superb statistics helped him to a rare double: The Carolina Panthers running back has made The Associated Press NFL All-Pro Team at two positions.

McCaffrey rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns while catching a phenomenal 116 passes for 1,005 yards and four TDs. He became the third player in NFL history to finish with 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season, joining Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig, who is on the senior ballot for the hall this year.

That so impressed the 50 members of a nationwide media panel who regularly cover the NFL for McCaffrey to be voted the first-team running back and the top flex player. The flex position was created in 2016 to reward players who epitomize the way offense is now played in pro football. Not one fits that description better than McCaffrey, whose terrific season came for a 5-11 team.

“It means a lot,” says McCaffrey, a third-year pro. “It is a big honor and that is something that you don't work hard for it, but when it comes you are really grateful and appreciative.”

McCaffrey's achievement was complemented by the unanimous selections of New Orleans receiver Michael Thomas and New England cornerback Stephon Gilmore. It's the second straight season both made the squad, Thomas doing it with an NFL-record 149 catches, Gilmore anchoring the league's top-ranked defense.

Ravens sensation Lamar Jackson, who in his second season led Baltimore to a league-best 14-2 mark, was chosen as quarterback. Jackson and McCaffrey were among 14 first-time All-Pros.

Rams safety Eric Weddle, a former Raven, witnessed the jukes and jaunts of Jackson firsthand in a 45-6 Ravens romp.

“When you get on the field and you get to the speed of what they run, it's tough,” says Weddle, a former All-Pro. “I mean, some of the plays I didn't know who had the ball because they run it so efficiently. (Jackson) is one of a kind; he's pretty special.”