Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas is headed to his ninth Pro Bowl in nine seasons after being named to the team alongside center Alex Mack.
Thomas, who has yet to miss a snap in his entire career, last year became the first offensive lineman to make the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight seasons. Thomas, who also joined Hall of Famers Jim Brown and Lou Groza as the only Browns to have nine Pro Bowl selections, was honored to be in such elite company, per the team's official website.
"Jim Brown and Lou Groza are two of the greatest Browns of all time and the list of players who have been selected to the Pro Bowl their first nine seasons is a who's who of NFL history. The neat thing about that list is that it spans many generations. To be included with names like those is pretty special and very humbling."
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Among the who's who referred to by Thomas are Brown, Barry Sanders, Lawrence Taylor, Merlin Olsen and Franco Harris. Unfortunately for Thomas, the Pro Bowl is the only taste of the postseason he has experienced in his career. The Browns are currently 3-11 at the bottom of the AFC North.
Mack, coming off an injury-shortened season due to a broken leg, was named to his third Pro Bowl. He has also played every offensive snap this season. Mack has the ability to opt out of the five-year, $42 million contract that he signed in 2014 as a restricted free agent. Having another Pro Bowl campaign certainly increases his earning potential.
Tight end Gary Barnidge, in the midst of a breakout season, was named as an alternate behind Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Tyler Eifert, and Travis Kelce. Barnidge is fifth among NFL tight ends with 68 receptions, fourth in yardage (930), and third in touchdowns with nine.
Receiver Travis Benjamin, also having a career year, was also added as an alternate alongside special teamer Johnson Bademosi.