Six Ravens voted to Pro Bowl, four named starters

The Ravens will be well represented in Hawaii on Jan. 27 with six members of the team selected to play in this year’s Pro Bowl.

Safety Ed Reed, fullback Vonta Leach, guard Marshal Yanda and return specialist Jacoby Jones were named starters while defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and running back Ray Rice were selected as reserves. Safety Bernard Pollard was named a first alternate to the AFC team and will participate in the NFL’s All-Star festivities if a player in front of him is unable to play because of injury or the Super Bowl.

Jones has turned out to be an exceptional free agent acquisition, earning his first Pro Bowl nod in his first year with Baltimore. He leads the NFL with 32.1 yards per kickoff return and has returned two for touchdowns - an NFL-record 108-yarder and a 105-yarder. He is the only player in the league with two kickoff returns for touchdowns this season and is the first Raven to have multiple in a career.

The six-year veteran has an NFL-best three combined kick return scores (one punt return), becoming the first Raven to record three total kick return for touchdowns in a season.

“My guys have done a great job blocking - I give all praise to them,” Jones said in a statement. “This means a lot. It says you are in the elite of the elite, which is tough to do, and that takes a lot of consistency and hard work. But again, a lot of praise goes to the guys blocking in front of me.

“I had a chance to come here, and it’s been a breath of fresh air. As soon as I walked through the door, they told me to be myself and that they’d give me an opportunity. They told me to make plays when they call my number, and that’s what I’ve tried to do - make plays when they call my number.”

Reed earned the ninth Pro Bowl selection of his 11-year career. So far this season, he has 58 tackles and four interceptions, including one for a touchdown, in 15 games played. He also has 15 passes defended and three fumble recoveries, all despite playing with a torn labrum in his shoulder. Reed became the NFL’s all-time leader in interception return yards in the season opener, passing Hall of Famer Rod Woodson.

Leach was named a Pro Bowler for the third time in his nine-year career. He has been the lead blocker for Rice, who ranks sixth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (1,616) and has scored 10 total touchdowns. Leach also has 20 receptions for 141 yards.

Yanda earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl invitation, helping block for Rice while also not allowing a sack this season.

Ngata earned his fourth Pro Bowl invite in his seven pro seasons. He has 51 tackles and five sacks in 14 games.

Rice claimed his third Pro Bowl nod in five pro seasons. In addition to ranking sixth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage per game, he is one of only two players in the league with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards in 2012. Rice’s 61 receptions tie for second on the team and rank second in the NFL among running backs. Rice became the first Raven ever to rush for 1,000 yards in four straight seasons.