Seven Ravens earn Pro Bowl honors

The Ravens will send seven players to the Pro Bowl this season, six of whom made the team as starters.

Those selected were running back Ray Rice, fullback Vonta Leach, guard Marshal Yanda, linebacker Terrell Suggs, linebacker Ray Lewis, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and safety Ed Reed.

Yanda was the only one of the group not to make the team as a starter; the Ravens’ right guard will come off the bench for the AFC squad.

Of course, while Ravens fans would love to watch their players suit up for the annual All-Star game, they’d much prefer the alternative. With the Super Bowl now held the week after the Pro Bowl, teams who are still battling it out for the Lombardi Trophy do not take part in the bulk of the All-Star festivities.

The Ravens’ biggest snub is probably cornerback Lardarius Webb, who was not even named as a Pro Bowl alternate despite personally not allowing a touchdown pass this season. Webb has also recorded five interceptions.

Ray_Lewis-Terrell_Suggs-celebrating-sidebar.jpgThis is now the 13th Pro Bowl nod in 16 NFL seasons for Lewis, who made the AFC team despite missing four games due to a toe injury. Lewis has recorded a team-high 88 tackles this season and has added two sacks and one interception.

Reed was named to his eighth Pro Bowl in his 10-year career. Through 15 games this season, has totaled 48 tackles, three interceptions, one sack, eight passes defensed and one forced fumble.

“It is definitely an honor and blessing,” Reed said in a statement. “To come back after an injury last year and to be voted by my peers and fans is special. I am very appreciative of this honor, but right now, there are bigger goals in mind.”

Suggs’ Pro Bowl spot was all but guaranteed with his 13-sack campaign through 15 games. It’s the fifth career Pro Bowl for the outside linebacker, who leads the conference in sacks and also has recorded six forced fumbles.

“I felt like a kid when I got the call; I was excited and honored,” Suggs said. “This wouldn’t be possible without my teammates. But to be clear, I have no intentions of playing in the Pro Bowl. I plan on being in practice with my teammates that week, getting ready for the Super Bowl.”

Ngata gets his third straight Pro Bowl nod after registering 61 tackles, five sacks and four passes defensed. He also recorded his first-career touchdown this season.

This is the second time that Rice has been sent to Hawaii in his four-year career. The Ravens’ running back has recorded a league-high 1,869 yards from scrimmage this season, and he’s third in the AFC with 1,173 rushing yards.

He’ll go with his backfield mate, Leach, who makes his second Pro Bowl and first as a Raven. This will be the first time the fullback will be a Pro Bowl starter.

“This means a lot to me, especially with it being my first year on a new team,” Leach said. “With changing teams, the lockout and trying to learn a new playbook, I am so proud and happy to be going with my backfield mate.”

Then there’s Yanda, who earned the first Pro Bowl nod of his five-year NFL career. The Ravens’ right guard has been a consistent force this season. He’s yet to commit an offensive penalty this season and has graded out with a “winning performance or better” in every game, according to the Ravens’ coaching staff.

“I am ecstatic, that is really the only thing I can say,” Yanda said. “This is such a great honor, something that I never really expected. When I made it to the NFL, I was so happy to be on a team and playing in the league, and now, to be a part of a Pro Bowl team is something very special.”

Left guard Ben Grubbs was named a Pro Bowl first alternate, meaning if someone ahead of him cannot attend, Grubbs would get an invitation to Hawaii. Brendon Ayanbadejo was named a second alternate as a special teams player, quarterback Joe Flacco and safety Bernard Pollard were third alternates and offensive tackle Michael Oher was a fourth alternate.

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