Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green and punter Kevin Huber were named to the 2015 Pro Bowl on Tuesday.
For the second consecutive year, the Pro Bowl will be "unconferenced." Instead of the AFC vs. NFC matchup that was previously the format, players were selected without regard to conference in voting by fans, coaches and players. Players will be assigned to opposing teams during the 2015 Pro Bowl Draft on NFL Network on Wed., Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. The teams will be known as Team Carter and Team Irvin, after Hall of Fame wide receivers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin, who will serve as alumni team captains and head the draft selection process for each of their squads.
Green, a fourth-year player, has been voted to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time. Huber, a sixth-year player, drafted by the Bengals in the fifth round in 2009, is on the Pro Bowl roster for the first time.
"It’s a great honor for both our guys, and kind of a contrasting situation," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "A.J. does not quite have the numbers he had the last few seasons, but the voters know he’s missed time with injuries and has been not quite 100 percent at other times. They know he’s still the player he always has been, if not better, when he’s at full speed.
"As for Kevin, it’s an honor well deserved and maybe just a little late in coming. He has been outstanding for us for several years. We ask Kevin to do special things with the ball. He doesn't get the opportunity like some guys to just stand back there and boom the ball as far as he can every time."
Despite those "special instructions," Huber through Game 15 ranks fifth in the NFL in gross punting average (46.7) and fourth in net (43.0). He is also in the top 10 (tied for ninth) in differential between inside-20 kicks and touchbacks (plus-21 at 27-6). His directional kicking has helped the Bengals allow no punt returns of more than 11 yards this season.
Huber’s gross and net averages for this season, if held through Game 16, would re-set club seasons records he already holds. He is also the franchise’s career leader in gross (44.6) and (39.7).
Green leads the Bengals in receptions (61), receiving yards (959) and receiving touchdowns (six) despite having missed significant time due to injuries. He missed almost all of Game 2 and all of Games 5-7 due to turf toe and played only sparingly in Game 8 as he returned from the injury. Last week vs. Denver, he played only 25 of the 63 offensive snaps after suffering an upper-arm bruise early in the first quarter, but it’s hoped he’ll be at full speed for this week’s regular season finale and the playoffs.
In around his missed time, Green has produced five 100-yard games, including a career-best 224 on Dec. 7 vs. Pittsburgh, second-most for a game in Bengals history. He set a career high for catches (12) on Nov. 23 at Houston.
Green’s four selections ranks tied second among Bengals WRs to Chad Johnson, who had six. Green joins Isaac Curtis as the only Bengals to make the Pro Bowl in each of their first four seasons.