Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green and linebacker Vontaze Burfict have been named to the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl, the NFL announced on Friday.
"It’s a great honor for both our guys, and it’s especially great for Vontaze," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "Everyone knows what an exceptional player A.J. continues to be, and we kind of expect him to be in the game, but it’s very gratifying to see Vontaze recognized for the fine season he’s had."
Green has been named to the Pro Bowl during each of his three seasons in the NFL, amassing 94 receptions, 1,365 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns this year. With 76 receiving yards against the Ravens, he will surpass Chad Johnson’s club record of 1,440 yards receiving in a single season (2007). Green has already set Bengals records this season for most 100-yard receiving games (six) and most consecutive 100-yard receiving games (five, in Games 6-10).
The last Bengals wide receiver to make the Pro Bowl before Green was Chad Johnson, who earned his sixth trip in the 2009 season. Other Bengals wide receiver 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).
Burfict, who has compiled 188 tackles this season (according to the team), becomes the first Bengals linebacker voted to the Pro Bowl since Jim LeClair made it in 1976. The only other Bengals linebacker to make an all-star game was Bill Bergey, who was selected for the 1969 American Football League All-Star game. Burfict has 85 more tackles than second-place Rey Maualuga (103). His solo tackle total of 128 is more than twice the total of Maualuga (second with 61).
The second-year linebacker also leads the Bengals front seven in passes defensed (10), ranked third on the team. He’s tied for the team lead in tackles-for-loss on rushing plays (seven), and he has three sacks, an interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He scored a touchdown on a forced fumble and return on Nov. 17 vs. Cleveland.
Two Bengals players were voted as alternates. Andrew Whitworth was voted a third alternate at OT, and Andy Dalton a seventh alternate at QB.
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 from the two Super Bowl teams will be replaced from the alternates’ ranks.
The game will be played Sun., Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu and will be televised nationally by NBC.
For the first time this year, the Pro Bowl will be "unconferenced." Instead of the AFC vs. NFC matchup that was the format since the 1970 season, players were selected without regard to conference in voting by fans, coaches and players.
Players will be assigned to opposing teams during the first-ever Pro Bowl Draft on NFL Network on Wed., Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. ET. The teams will be known as Team Rice and Team Sanders, after Hall of Fame players Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders, who will serve as alumni team captains and head the draft selection process for each of their squads.