Five Cleveland Browns named to Pro Bowl
BEREA — There might be a silver lining to the Browns dismal season.
The Browns will be represented in Hawaii this year at the Pro Bowl by five players. The Browns haven’t had five players make the Pro Bowl since after the 2007 season when five players were selected.
Last year, the 2-14 Chiefs sent six players to the NFL’s all-star game and this year they are in the playoffs.
The Pro Bowl will be played on Jan. 26 in Honolulu, Hawaii at 7 p.m.
Offensive tackle Joe Thomas, center Alex Mack make a return trip to the Pro Bowl, while newcomers wide receiver Josh Gordon, tight end Jordan Cameron and cornerback Joe Haden join them.
Thomas was selected for the seventh time in as many seasons. He has not missed a game or a snap since being the third overall selection of the 2007 NFL Draft. His 111 games has spanned 6,859 snaps, which is the longest active stretch in the NFL. Thomas joins Jim Brown as the only other Browns player to make the Pro Bowl in their first seven seasons. There are only 10 NFL players who made the Pro Bowl in their first seven seasons and nine of them are in the Hall of Fame.
Mack made the Pro Bowl for the second time in his five-year career. Like Thomas, Mack has started all 79 games of his career and has not missed a snap since being a first-round draft choice in the 2009 NFL Draft. He has played 4,934 straight plays. Mack earned his second Pro Bowl after being selected in 2011.
"I was pretty fired up," Mack said. "I was really excited. It’s a great honor. You put a lot of work into this sport, and it’s good to get recognized."
Thomas and Mack are the first pair of offensive linemen to go to the Pro Bowl since Gene Hickerson and Dick Schafrath did so from 1966-69.
"It’s a great honor," Mack said after the announcement. "Offensive line is a team position. You really depend heavily on the people next to you, and it’s a cohesive unit. I owe a lot to my coaches and my teammates."
Gordon leads the NFL in receiving yardage with 1,564 on 80 receptions and nine touchdowns. He has seven 100-yard receiving games, including two 200-yard games. His 19.6 average per catch leads the NFL. Gordon is in his second season and it’s his first Pro Bowl.
Haden has 60 tackles with 21 passes broken up and four interceptions, including on returned for a touchdown. He is tied for third in the NFL in passes defensed. Haden is in his 4th season and his first Pro Bowl.
Cameron has 75 receptions for 848 yards and seven touchdowns. His reception totals are second in the NFL. Cameron is in his 3rd NFL season and first Pro Bowl.
T. J. Ward was selected as a first alternate, meaning he will go if a safety ahead of him is unable to play. The three strong safeties selected were Eric Berry, Kam Chancellor and Troy Polamalu. Ward is second on the team with 121 tackles with nine passes broken up, two interceptions, two sacks and a fumble recovery. Ward scored two touchdowns, one on an interception and one on a fumble return.
Chris Ogbonnaya, who was second in the fan voting did not get selected.
In 2012, three Browns players made the Pro Bowl in Thomas and return specialist Josh Cribbs and kicker Phil Dawson.
Rob Chudzinski was asked earlier Friday if he thought several Browns making the Pro Bowl showed the team has something to build on.
"I do. I think that’s important," he said. "It’s important that guys have played their best or had their best seasons. The coaches, the work they’ve put into it, and those players, the work that they’ve put into it, and some guys are really emerging out of nowhere that were question marks.
"I think those are all good signs and all indicative of the direction that we’re going."