With Whitner’s inclusion, Pro Bowl secondary has a very Browns look

Donte Whitner will join cornerback Joe Haden and fellow safety Tashaun Gipson at the NFL Pro Bowl.

Ron Schwane/Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns safety Donte Whitner has been added to the 2015 Pro Bowl roster, the league announced Monday. Whitner replaces Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, who is unable to participate as his team qualified for Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona.

Whitner, who was chosen for the league’s All-Star game for the third consecutive season, joins safety Tashaun Gipson, cornerback Joe Haden and offensive tackle Joe Thomas as the Browns’ 2015 Pro Bowl honorees.

After signing with the Browns as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason, Whitner started all 16 games at strong safety in 2014, playing every defensive snap in 14 of those contests. The Cleveland native led the team with 106 tackles (team-high 69 solo stops) and posted one interception, five passes defensed and one forced fumble.

With Gipson, Haden and Whitner each earning Pro Bowl laurels, it marks the first time in team history that three Browns defensive backs received the accolade in one season. The last time the Browns had at least three defensive players gain the distinction was 1995, when defensive end Rob Burnett, linebacker Pepper Johnson, nose tackle Michael Dean Perry and safety Eric Turner were recognized.

Gipson is a first-time honoree, while Thomas (eight) and Haden (two) also have multiple selections. Thomas became the first offensive lineman in NFL history to be named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight seasons.