McCluster named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Less than a week after being named to his first Pro Bowl, Chiefs wide receiver/punt returner Dexter McCluster can add another first to his list.

McCluster has been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for December, the NFL announced Thursday.

Dec 8, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster (22) runs with the ball as Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall (23) defends in the first quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 8, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster (22) runs with the ball as Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall (23) defends in the first quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The fourth-year pro out of Mississippi had a month to remember, returning 12 punts for 232 yards (19.3 average).

In Week 14 against the Washington Redskins, McCluster had seven punt returns for 177 yards (25.3 avg.), which established a franchise record for most punt return yards in a single game.

He also had a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Redskins, marking the longest return for a score in the league in December.

McCluster’s 19.3 yards per punt return in December ranked first in the AFC, second in the NFL behind only Chicago Bears ace returner Devin Hester (19.4).

Thursday’s announcement marked McCluster first career Player of the Month award. He previously won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in Week 4.

McCluster, who finished the regular season with two punt returns for a touchdown, is the first Chiefs returner to win Special Teams Player of the Month since Dante Hall did in it September 2003.

McCluster is the second Chiefs player to be recognized by the NFL for AFC Player of the Month honors at a respective position. Outside linebacker Justin Houston won AFC Defensive Player of the Month for September.

As for weekly AFC honors, McCluster, Houston, outside linebacker Tamba Hali, running back Jamaal Charles and kicker Ryan Succop each have been recognized by the NFL during the 2013 regular season.