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Joe Thomas, Alex Mack named to 2016 Pro Bowl


By Andrew Gribble, Senior Staff Writer

Browns offensive linemen Joe Thomas and Alex Mack are headed back to the Pro Bowl.

The Browns' left tackle and center were announced Tuesday as the team's two representatives for the 2016 Pro Bowl. Thomas' selection is the ninth in his nine NFL seasons and Mack will attend his third.

Special teamer Johnson Bademosi, tight end Gary Barnidge and wide receiver Travis Benjamin were selected as alternates.

Players will later be assigned to teams through the Pro Bowl Draft, which will air on ESPN2 on Wednesday, January 27. The 2016 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, January 31 and televised live on ESPN from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Thomas joined select company when he was named to his ninth Pro Bowl in as many seasons.

Thomas tied the franchise record for Pro Bowl appearances, joining Browns legends Jim Brown (1957-65) and Lou Groza (1950-55, 1957-59). Last season, he became the first offensive lineman to make the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight seasons and joined a small group of NFL players at all positions who have accomplished the feat in the first nine.


Player Pos. Team Years
Merlin Olsen DT Los Angeles Rams 14 (1962-75)
Mel Renfro DB, RB Dallas Cowboys 10 (1964-73)
Barry Sanders RB Detroit Lions 10 (1989-98)
Lawrence Taylor LB New York Giants 10 (1981-90)
Joe Thomas OL Cleveland Browns 9 (2007-15)
Jim Brown RB Cleveland Browns 9 (1957-65)
Franco Harris  RB Pittsburgh Steelers 9 (1972-80)
Derrick Thomas* LB Kansas City Chiefs 9 (1989-97)

*Denotes member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

"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," Thomas said. "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."

Thomas has started all 142 career games at tackle and has not missed an offensive snap since being selected by the Browns with the third overall pick in the 2007 draft. His stretch of 8,815 consecutive offensive snaps is the longest active streak in the league and his 142 consecutive starts trails only D'Brickashaw Ferguson (159) among active players.


Player Pos. Years# Total
1. Jim Brown RB 1957-65 9
Lou Groza T 1950-55, 1957-59 9
Joe Thomas T 2007-15 9
4. Leroy Kelly RB 1966-71 6
Gene Hickerson G 1965-70 6
Dick Schafrath T 1963-68 6

*Denotes member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Mack, who scored a touchdown in the 2011 Pro Bowl, becomes the first center in Browns history to be selected to three Pro Bowls. Since being chosen by Cleveland with the 21st overall pick of the 2009 draft, Mack has started 99 career games, the third-most by a Brown since the team's return in 1999.

Mack, who spent the final 11 weeks of the 2014 season on injured reserve, has started and played every offensive snap in all 14 Browns games this season. Before fracturing his fibula in the second quarter of Cleveland's 31-10 victory over Pittsburgh in Week 6 last year, Mack started 85 games and played 5,279 consecutive offensive snaps to open his career.

"It's an honor to be voted to this year's Pro Bowl, especially coming off of a season where I had to watch from the sidelines for the first time," Mack said. "It was a lot of work during the offseason to come back from injury, but it was all worth it to be back on the field with my teammates. As a lineman, you depend on the man next to you, and I owe a lot of this honor to my teammates and coaches. Unfortunately, we haven't had the success that we wanted this year, but I look forward to representing Cleveland and the Browns in Hawaii."

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