Seven Baltimore Ravens were voted to the Pro Bowl, the NFL announced Tuesday evening. LB Ray Lewis, S Ed Reed, LB Terrell Suggs, DT Haloti Ngata, FB Vonta Leach, RB Ray Rice and G Marshal Yanda were selected to play in the NFL's All-Star game, which will be held on Jan. 29, 2012, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.
LB Ray Lewis (13th Pro Bowl Invite – Starter)
Lewis, who was selected as an AFC starter, was named to the 13th Pro Bowl of his 16-year career. Despite missing four games due to injury, Lewis has recorded a team-high 88 tackles this season, adding two sacks, one interception, six passes defensed and two forced fumbles. Lewis leads a Ravens' defense that ranks third in the NFL (285.7 ypg).
S Ed Reed (8th Pro Bowl Invite – Starter)
Also named a starter for the AFC, Reed was selected to the eighth Pro Bowl of his 10-year career. In 15 games this season, he has totaled 48 tackles, three interceptions, one sack, eight passes defensed and one forced fumble. Reed, whose 57 career thefts lead all active players, has generated at least three interceptions in each of the past six seasons. He (1,463) is 21 interception return yards shy of setting the all-time NFL record, currently held by Hall of Famer Rod Woodson (1,483 yards).
"It is definitely an honor and blessing," Reed stated. "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. With the Bengals coming up this week and a push to the playoffs, we have a lot of work ahead of us, but this is definitely something I am proud of and am thankful for."
OLB Terrell Suggs (5th Pro Bowl Invite – Starter)
Also starting on the AFC squad, Suggs has registered both a conference- and career-high 13 sacks through 15 games, en route to earning his fifth Pro Bowl nod in nine seasons. In addition, he has posted 64 total tackles, two interceptions and five passes defensed. His six forced fumbles tie a Ravens' single-season high, which he set in 2003 and 2005. Suggs is the franchise's all-time leader in sacks (81.5) and has produced three three-sack performances this season.
"First off, I definitely want to give a tremendous amount of credit to my coaches, especially Clarence Brooks and Ted Monachino," Suggs said. "Without them, I wouldn't be where I am now. I felt like a kid when I got the call; I was excited and honored. This wouldn't be possible without my teammates. Without the secondary making the QBs hold the ball, or the linebackers plugging up those holes, I wouldn't have the chance to do what I do, and I am thankful for them. I also want to thank the fans who voted for me. 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."
DT Haloti Ngata (3rd Pro Bowl Invite – Starter)
Named a starter in the third Pro Bowl of his six-year career, Ngata has produced 61 tackles, five sacks and four passes defensed. He has also set career highs with two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Ngata also recorded his first-career touchdown with a 28-yard scamper off a fumble recovery at St. Louis. Reinforced through Ngata's efforts, the Ravens' run defense ranks second in the NFL (91.8 ypg) and third in points allowed per game (16.7).
"It is a privilege and honor to be considered one of the best at your position among your peers, coaches and fans," Ngata stated. "When I found out, I felt the same way I did the first time I made it. I know that this wouldn't be possible without my teammates. Hopefully, though, I won't be able to play in the Pro Bowl, because I want to be playing in Indy [at the Super Bowl]."
RB Ray Rice (2nd Pro Bowl Invite – Starter)
Rice, who was selected as an AFC starter, was named to the second Pro Bowl of his four-year career. Entering the NFL's final week, Rice has recorded a league-high 1,869 scrimmage yards and is third in the AFC with 1,173 rushing yards. A dual-threat back, he is tops in receiving yards (696) and second in receptions (74) among all running backs. Furthermore, with four receiving yards in Week 17, he will become just the second player in NFL history to record multiple seasons with at least 1,000 rushing and 700 receiving yards (Marshall Faulk accomplished the feat four times).
"This is a great honor, and I really want to thank my offensive line and coaches for helping me to become the player I am," Rice said. "This is a team award, and I hope that everyone on our team can take pride in the fact that they helped seven of their teammates attain this honor. Also, thanks to my peers, coaches and fans that voted me in. But, I will celebrate after the season. We have unfinished business to take care of over the next few weeks."
FB Vonta Leach (2nd Pro Bowl Invite – Starter)
In his first year with the Ravens, Leach was named an AFC starter for the second time in his eight-year NFL career. He has helped pave the way for Rice, who currently leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage (1,869) and is fifth league-wide in rushing yards (1,173). Aside from blocking, Leach has posted a career-high 11 carries for 34 yards, and adding 12 receptions for 51 yards.
"This means a lot to me, especially with it being my first year on a new team," Leach affirmed. "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 [Ray Rice]. This is a great thing and something to celebrate. But, that will have to wait until after the season. Right now we are getting ready for Cincinnati and a strong playoff run."
G Marshal Yanda (1st Pro Bowl Invite)
Yanda earned the first Pro Bowl nod of his five-year NFL career, serving as a stabilizing force on the offensive line. Behind him, Rice leads the NFL with 1,869 yards from scrimmage and is fifth in rushing (1,173). Rice is also tied for first in the AFC with 10 rushing touchdowns. Yanda, who has not committed an offensive penalty this season, has also 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. You don't get there alone; you have to be on a good team and playing well as a unit. I am thankful for my teammates and coaches who helped me get to where I am."
LB Ray Lewis (starter), S Ed Reed (starter), LB Terrell Suggs (starter), DT Haloti Ngata (starter), RB Ray Rice (starter), FB Vonta Leach (starter), G Marshal Yanda
First Alternate Note
One Raven who did not make the Pro Bowl but was selected as a first alternate is G Ben Grubbs. He would receive an invitation if a player in front of him cannot attend due to injury or Super Bowl participation.
G Ben Grubbs
ST Brendon Ayanbadejo
QB Joe Flacco and S Bernard Pollard
T Michael Oher