The 2014 NFL season has officially come to an end for the Cleveland Browns.
Team Irvin topped Team Carter, 32-28, in Sunday night's Pro Bowl game, meaning Browns players Joe Thomas and Joe Haden left Arizona with a bulky $55,000 winners check.
Thomas started at left tackle and showed his athleticism in the second quarter. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was intercepted by Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt inside the 10-yard line. Instead of Watt taking off for a big gain, which he's been known to do, Thomas hauled him down immediately.
"This was only the second Pro Bowl I've won," the eight-time Pro Bowler Thomas told ClevelandBrowns.com after the game. "It's just so great to play with all these awesome players. It was great to get the family down in Arizona and enjoy the warm weather."
Haden finished the game with three tackles and was on the field in crunch time when Team Irvin was trying to prevent a last-second touchdown from Team Carter. On the last play of the game, Haden was there on the coverage to ensure his team secured the victory.
"It was just being in the right place at the right time," Haden said. "I'm excited about the win and to celebrate with these dudes. It's all about the relationships and being able to talk with the best players in the game."
Even though this was Donte Whitner's third Pro Bowl appearance, it was the safety's first time playing in the actual game. In 2013, his 49ers were set to play in the Super Bowl a week later. Last year, Whitner didn't want to risk injury with his impending free agency.
So, Whitner relished in the opportunity to actually trot out on the field with the best of the best. Even though his team didn't pull out the win, this particular Pro Bowl will always stand out to the Cleveland native.
"Everybody made it out healthy, we had a lot of fun out there and put on a good show for the fans," Whitner said. "This is all about being recognized – the top in your profession, tops in the league. I met a lot of people this week, had a lot of fun."
The next time we officially will see the Browns back in uniform is late April, when OTAs ramp back up in Berea.