Five Baltimore Ravens were voted to the Pro Bowl, the NFL announced Tuesday evening. LB Ray Lewis, S Ed Reed, DT Haloti Ngata, K Billy Cundiff and LB Terrell Suggs were selected to play in the NFL's All-Star game, which will be held on Jan. 30, 2011, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.
LB Ray Lewis (12th Pro Bowl Invite – Starter)
Tabbed as a starter for the AFC squad, Lewis was invited to the 12th Pro Bowl of his 15-year career. He has recorded a team-high 134 tackles through 15 games this season, adding two sacks, two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), four passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Lewis leads a Ravens' defense that ranks third in the NFL in points allowed per game (17.5).
"Wow, No. 12 feels like No. 1," Lewis stated. "Every year is a different year, and you prepare each offseason for one year at a time. I tell my teammates that I am going to train to be a Pro Bowl player that season, and my focus paid off again this season. This never gets old. This is the greatest honor ever, because this is from the fans, the coaches and your peers. You can never take anything for granted, and I never take this for granted. I am blessed with great teammates, and I wouldn't be here without them. I feel this is a team award."
S Ed Reed (7th Pro Bowl Invite – Starter)
Reed, who was also selected as a starter for the AFC, was named to the seventh Pro Bowl of his nine-year career. Though he missed the Ravens' first six games while on the Physically Unable to Perform list (hip), Reed has totaled 37 tackles and a team-high six interceptions (returned for 135 yards) in just nine contests. Since he returned to action on Oct. 24, he is tied (Patriots CB Devin McCourty) for the NFL lead in interceptions.
DT Haloti Ngata (2nd Pro Bowl Invite – Starter)
Selected as a starter to the second Pro Bowl of his five-year career, Ngata has been a major force on the defensive line, producing 64 tackles and a career-high 5.5 sacks. Bolstered by Ngata's efforts, the Ravens' run defense ranks fourth in the NFL (94.2 ypg) and third in points allowed per game (17.5).
K Billy Cundiff (1st Pro Bowl Invite – Starter)
In his second season with the Ravens, Cundiff was named to the first Pro Bowl of his six-year career. Compiling one of the best seasons by a kicker in NFL history, his 38 touchbacks lead the league and tie for fourth most all time (from the 35- and 30-yard line starting points), while he has also connected on 88.9% of his field goals (24 of 27) and all 38 PATs to produce a career-high 110 points.
"I am humbled, as this is such a great honor," Cundiff stated. "This is the result of having great teammates and coaches surrounding you. The rapport that Sam [Koch] and Morgan [Cox] and I developed during training camp was invaluable this season. I worked my butt off to prove to our coaches that they made the right choice, and hopefully, this gives them a little gratification."
"This is a testament to Billy's hard work and determination," Ravens assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. "Billy has shown incredible perseverance throughout his career, and he has always remained dedicated to becoming a great kicker in the NFL. I believe that the other players in this league not only respect what he has done, but also how he has done it. He never lost faith in himself, and he continued to improve. He is richly deserving of this honor, as is his wife, Nicole, who has been tremendously supportive."
OLB Terrell Suggs (4th Pro Bowl Invite)
Earning his fourth Pro Bowl in eight NFL seasons, Suggs has registered a team-high 11 sacks through 15 games to go along with 55 total tackles and two forced fumbles. He is just one sack short of tying a career high (12 in 2003) and has produced 7.5 sacks in the Ravens' last eight games.
"This is awesome," Suggs stated. "The only thing that would be better than this is a Super Bowl. It has been a long few years, and to come back and be recognized by your peers is amazing. This is something you can't do by yourself; it takes a unit. I have to thank my teammates, especially the defense – and particularly Haloti [Ngata] – for pushing me to do the little extra things when I didn't want to."
First Alternate Note
Three Ravens who did not make the Pro Bowl but were selected as first alternates include G Ben Grubbs, P Sam Koch and FB Le'Ron McClain. Each would receive an invitation if a player in front of him cannot attend due to injury or Super Bowl participation.
"I'm happy for those who made it," Ravens executive vice president and general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "I'm also pleased for the alternates who get to know that players and coaches around the league think highly of them. Plus, it gives them something to shoot for."
LB Ray Lewis (starter), S Ed Reed (starter), DT Haloti Ngata (starter), K Billy Cundiff (starter), OLB Terrell Suggs
G Ben Grubbs, P Sam Koch, FB Le'Ron McClain
QB Joe Flacco, T Michael Oher
WR Anquan Boldin, S Dawan Landry, RB Ray Rice