Jerry Y Azumah
Ht: 5-10 1/2 Wt: 205
Age: 28 (as of 9/1/05)
College: University of New Hampshire
Bears Season: 7 NFL Season: 7
Acquired: 5th round of the 1999 draft (147th pick overall)
NFL PRO CAREER: Three-year starter at CB for Chicago who has become one of the most electric playmakers on the Bears as an interceptor and kick returner… Has recorded 8 INTs over the last two seasons, the most by a Bears player since Mike Brown notched 8 INTs from 2001-02… Averaged 21.5 yards per INT return from 2003-04 to lead the Bears while ranking 5th in the NFC and 10th in the NFL… Ranks 6th all-time in Bears history with 2,180 kickoff return yards and his 25.1-yard avg ranks 4th in club annals of those with at least 40 kick returns… Over last two years has averaged 25.5 yards per kickoff return, the best average over a two-year span by a Bear since Dennis Gentry averaged 26.6 yards per return from 1986-87, and the 4th highest avg. in the NFL over the last two seasons by players with at least 40 kick returns… Arrived as a 2-way weapon in 2003 by leading the NFL in kickoff return average and TDs, earning his first career Pro Bowl appearance and just the fourth ever for a Bears kickoff returner… Posted the highest single-season KR average for a Bear since 1975, earning him All-Pro honors from Football Digest (first-team) and The Sporting News as well as All-NFC from Pro Football Weekly… In his second season as Chicago’s starting RCB, tied for team lead with career-high 4 INTs and ranked 2nd with 90 tackles while extending his games played streak to 55… Recorded career-high 92 tackles in 2002 in his first year as a starter… Scored his first NFL TD on an INT return in his first career postseason game… Graduated to starting role after increasing his role in the defense each of his first 3 NFL seasons… Entered the NFL as a standout collegiate RB, but immediately began the transition to CB… Teammates voted him the 1999 rookie recipient of the Brian Piccolo Award.
CAREER TRANSACTIONS: Entered NFL as a fifth-round selection (147th overall) by Chicago in the 1999 NFL Draft… Signed contract extension (8/22/01). SIGNED through 2005.
2004 SEASON: Played 12 games, starting 8 at CB, after missing the first 4 games of the season following pre-season neck surgery… Equaled his personal-best with 4 INTs, second-most on team, and averaged 32.0 yards per INT return – third-best in NFC by defenders with at least 3 INTs… Season debut vs. WASH (10/17) was highlighted by a 70-yard INT return for TD off a deflected pass from Mark Brunell; finished with 3 tackles and 2 KRs for 41 yards … Started at RCB tallying 2 tackles including 1 TFL at TB (10/24); Returned 4 kickoffs for 70 yards with a long of 23… Recorded 4 tackles including 1 TFL after starting at RCB vs. SF (10/31); Forced fumble by Kevan Barlow recovered by Mike Green; Averaged season-high 39.8 yards on 4 KRs including returns of 73 and 42 yards … Recorded 7 tackles including 1 sack and 1 TFL at NYG (11/7) while adding 1 INT forcing 2 fumbles… Posted 8 tackles with 1 PBU at TEN (11/14); Averaged 24.5 yards on 4 kick returns with a long of 27… Notched 6 tackles vs. IND (11/21); Returned season-high 6 kickoffs for 111 yards (18.5 avg.) with a long of 23… Intercepted 2 passes vs. MIN (12/5), returning the first 52 yards to set up Bears first TD; Credited with 5 tackles, teamed with DE Alex Brown to combine for a sack and returned 2 kickoffs for 36 yards… Registered 5 tackles at JAX (12/12); Averaged 28.0 yards on 5 returns with a long of 52… Recorded 5 tackles with 1 PBU at DET (12/26); Tallied 51 yards on 3 kickoff returns… Tallied 6 tackles including 1 TFL and added 1 PBU vs. GB (1/2); Returned 5 kickoffs for 106 yards (21.2 avg.). GAMES PLAYED-STARTED: 12-8
PREVIOUS SEASONS: 2003 – Named to first career Pro Bowl as a kickoff return specialist with an NFL-high KR average of 29.0 yards and TD returns of 89 and 88 yards while starting 13-of-16 games at CB and ranking 2nd on Bears with 90 tackles and a career-high 4 INTs… Compiled 1,191 KR yards – the fourth-highest single-season total in Bears history – and the second-highest single-season average for a Bears kickoff returner with at least 25 returns… Led NFL with 14 KRs of 30 or more yards while 28-of-41 returns went for 20 or more yards, helping Bears lead the NFL with an average drive starting position of Chicago’s 33-yard line – the best single-season average in the NFL this decade – while leading the NFC (3rd in the NFL) with a team KR average of 23.8 yards per return… Led Bears secondary with 8 tackles at MIN (9/14)… Moved to reserve CB role vs. OAK (10/5), but took over the KR role by making his debut with returns of 31 and 30 yards en route to a 25.2-yard average on 5 returns… Averaged 30.3 yards on 3 KRs at NO (10/12) with a long of 46… Marked return to starting lineup vs. DET (10/26) with his first career KR for TD (89 yards to open 2nd half) and an INT with an 11-yard return while adding 10 tackles and 1 PD… Dashed 39 yards on lone KR while posting 7 tackles vs. SD (11/2)… Averaged 32.0 yards on 4 KRs, including returns of 45 and 36 yards at DET (11/9) to go with secondary-high 6 tackles… Recorded INT and 2-yard return to go with 9 tackles (with 1 TFL and 1 sack) vs. STL (11/16) while adding returns of 31 and 38 yards with a 29.3-yard average on 3 returns… Averaged 38.7 yards on 3 KRs (26, 51, 39) with 4 tackles and 1 PD at DEN (11/23)… Recorded INT and 6-yard return vs. ARIZ (11/30)… Ran 88 yards for second KR TD of season and had 37-yarder en route to 31.2-yard average at GB (12/7) while adding 7 tackles… Led Bears with career-high 13 tackles (11 solos) vs. MIN (12/14)… Led Bears with 10 tackles and 25-yard INT return at KC (12/28) while tying career-high with 6 KRs for a 28.0-yard average and a long of 44… In his first career Pro Bowl (2/8/04), averaged 32.6 yards on 7 kickoffs to set a Pro Bowl record with 228 KR yards including a long of 60; added a 36-yard fumble return as a reserve DB. 2002 – One of three Bears defenders to start all 16 games his first season as a starter at RCB, ranking 4th on team with career-high 92 tackles and 2nd with 8 PDs… Posted 6 tackles, including 1 TFL, vs. MIN (9/8)… Forced fumble and recorded season-high 12 tackles to lead secondary at BUF (9/29)… Recorded 7 tackles, with 1 sack, and 1 PD vs. GB (10/7) in Monday Night Football debut… Tallied 7 tackles at MIN (10/27) and vs. NE (11/10)… Recorded 7 tackles and 2 PDs at GB (12/1)… Notched 8 tackles, forced fumble and an 18-yard INT return at MIA (12/9) off Bobbie Howard lateral… Recorded 7 tackles and 1 PD vs. TB (12/29). 2001 – Moved into prominent role in secondary playing 16 games while starting 5… Started in ‘nickel’ package at BALT (9/9), posting 2 tackles, 1 PD and fumble recovery; also gained 36 yards on his first 2 NFL kickoff returns… Posted 5 tackles vs. MIN (9/23) and a 17-yard kickoff return… Delivered 4 tackles and 1 PD at CIN (10/21)… Started at TB (11/18) and posted season-high 8 tackles and 1 PD… Equaled season-high with 8 tackles at MIN (11/25); added 2 special teams tackles and a 16-yard punt return after taking Leon Johnson lateral… Posted 3 tackles and 1 PD at WASH (12/23)… Notched 4 tackles at DET (12/30), including first 2 career sacks and a forced fumble; added 2 special teams tackles… Grabbed INT in 6-tackle performance vs. JAX (1/6/02), returning the pick 14 yards to setup a FG to close the first half… Gave Bears a second-half lead in Divisional Playoff vs. PHI (1/19/02) by scoring on a 39-yard INT return off Donovan McNabb; added 2 tackles with 1 sack. 2000 – Continued development at DB, playing 14 games and starting the last 4… Posted first career INT in season-opener at MIN (9/3) and forced a fumble… Left game at GB (10/1) with left rib cartilage sprain… Inactive vs. NO (10/8) and vs. IND (11/5) due to rib injury… Moved into starting lineup vs. GB (12/3) in place of injured Walt Harris… Posted season-high 8 tackles at DET (12/24). 1999 – His successful transition from collegiate RB to professional DB was exemplified by his teammates voting him as Chicago’s rookie recipient of the Brian Piccolo Award… Played all 16 games, starting 2, playing primarily in nickel situations and on special teams… Recorded 17 tackles, all in the last 4 games, and ranked 4th on the Bears with 20 special teams tackles while also forcing a fumble… Did not make a tackle at WASH (10/31) in first NFL start… Left game vs. DET (11/25) with minor concussion… Moved to third on depth chart vs. GB (12/5) and registered first 2 career defensive tackles… Totaled 6 tackles and 1 PD at STL (12/26)… Started vs. TB (1/2/00) in place of injured Walt Harris and notched season-high 7 tackles.
COLLEGE: Walter Payton Award recipient as the top player in NCAA Division I-AA football following his senior year at New Hampshire (1995-98) en route to setting the D-I AA career rushing record… Totaled 6,193 career rushing yards during his career and became the first player in D-I AA history to rush for over 1,000 yards 4 times… Also set D-I AA record with 8,276 career all-purpose yards, including an 82-yard kickoff return TD… Had 2 career 300-yard games and 2 career 5-TD games… Unanimous All-America and All-Atlantic 10 Conference selection as senior while shattering conference and school season-records with 2,195 yards and 22 TDs on 343 carries… Broke own school record with career-high 329-yards rushing with 5 TDs vs. Hofstra… As a junior, named to AFCA All-America first-team as a returner and garnered second-team honors as a RB from the Associated Press and The Sports Network… Led conference and ranked 6th in nation with 1,585 yards on 271 carries with 17 TDs… Named All-ECAC, All-New England and All-Yankee first team as a sophomore… Led conference in rushing (1,308), scoring (126) and all-purpose yards (2,109)… Started 7-of-8 games played as a true freshman, leading team with 186 carries for 1,105 yards and 8 TDs… Two-time Central Massachusetts and Shriners All-Star…