Bengals DT Geno Atkins and WR A.J. Green have been voted to the AFC team for this season’s Pro Bowl game, the NFL announced today. They both were voted in as starters.
The game will be played on Sunday, January 27, televised on NBC beginning at 7 p.m. EST.
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“We’re happy for both guys; it’s a great honor from fellow players and coaches and the voting fans,” said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. “They’ll represent us well if they’re in the game, but I have to add that it’s our goal to make them both unavailable (by the team advancing to the Super Bowl).”
Green, a second-year NFL player from Georgia, was named to the team from the initial vote last year as well, though last year he was not voted to a starting position. Last year he became the first rookie WR voted to the game since Anquan Boldin of Arizona in 2003. This season, through 15 games, Green is tied for the AFC lead in TD receptions (11), ranks second in receiving yards (1324) and ranks fourth in receptions (95).
Green had at least one TD catch in nine consecutive games this season (Games 2-10), becoming only the second NFL player in 48 years to record a single-season receiving-TDs streak of that length. The only other instance since 1964 was an NFL-record 12-gamer by Jerry Rice in 1987.
Atkins, a third-year pro and also from Georgia, has made a runaway of the NFL race for most sacks by an interior lineman. His 12.5 total is 5.5 ahead of the next-highest total, 7.0 by Ndamukong Suh of Detroit.
With one sack this week vs. Baltimore, Atkins would have the second-highest sack total of any player in Bengals history, surpassing DE Eddie Edwards’ 13.0 in 1983. The Bengals have verified their own sacks totals back to 1976, and the all-time high is 22.0 by DE Coy Bacon in ’76. Atkins, who also has four forced fumbles, tied for the Bengals lead, is voted directly to the team for the first time. Last season, he was a first alternate in the initial voting and was added to the squad when New England advanced to the Super Bowl, taking DT Vince Wilfork out of the Pro Bowl lineup.
Four Bengals players were voted as alternates, the NFL also announced today. TE Jermaine Gresham and OT Andrew Whitworth are first alternates, and QB Andy Dalton and CB Leon Hall are third alternates.
Alternates are selected for the Pro Bowl when roster replacements are needed due to injuries or other reasons. This year’s Pro Bowl will again be played a week in advance of the Super Bowl, so Pro Bowl selections on the two Super Bowl teams will be replaced from the alternates’ ranks.
Pro Bowl spots are determined based on voting by players, coaches and fans, with each group’s vote having equal weight.
The last Bengals WR to make the Pro Bowl before Green was Chad Johnson, who earned his sixth trip in the 2009 season. Other Bengals WRs in the Pro Bowl, with their total number of selections, have been Isaac Curtis (four), Carl Pickens (two), Eddie Brown (one), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (one) and Chip Myers (one).
Atkins has tied the Bengals record for most Pro Bowl selections by a defensive lineman. The last Bengals defensive lineman to make the Pro Bowl before Atkins was NT Tim Krumrie, who earned his second trip in 1988. Other Bengals defensive linemen in the Pro Bowl, with their total number of selections, have been DE Coy Bacon (two) and DT Mike Reid (two).