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December 23, 2014

NFL-HIGH NINE BRONCOS SELECTED TO 2015 PRO BOWL

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos had a league-best nine players selected to play in the 2015 Pro Bowl, the NFL announced on Tuesday.

Tackle Ryan Clady (4th selection), cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (1st selection), quarterback Peyton Manning (14th selection), linebacker Von Miller (3rd selection), cornerback Aqib Talib (2nd selection), wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (3rd selection), tight end Julius Thomas (2nd selection), safety T.J. Ward (2nd selection) and defensive end DeMarcus Ware (8th selection) received invitations to play in the league’s annual All-Star Game that will be played on Sunday, Jan. 25, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. (6 p.m. MST kickoff, ESPN).

In addition to representing the most selections in the NFL this season, Denver’s nine Pro Bowlers this year tie for the second most in team history (1998 – 10; 1996 – 9).

Seven of Denver’s nine selections were either drafted or signed by Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway during the last three years, including three defensive starters (Talib, Ward & Ware) acquired this past offseason.
 
DENVER BRONCOS 2014 PRO BOWL SELECTIONS   MOST PRO BOWL SELECTIONS,
Player Pos. Selection   BRONCOS HISTORY
Ryan Clady T 4th     Year No.
Chris Harris Jr. CB 1st   1. 1998 10
Peyton Manning QB 14th   2. 2014 9
Von Miller LB 3rd     1996 9
Aqib Talib CB 2nd   4. 2012 7
Demaryius Thomas WR 3rd     2001 7
Julius Thomas TE 2nd     1978 7
T.J. Ward S 2nd   7. 1995 6
DeMarcus Ware DE 8th     1986 6
 
*****
 
DENVER BRONCOS PRO BOWL CAPSULES
 
T RYAN CLADY

Clady’s four Pro Bowl selections are the most by an offensive tackle in team history and trail only center Tom Nalen’s five sections among Broncos offensive linemen.

After spending the majority of the 2013 season injured reserve, Clady returned to start all 15 games for the Broncos this year, helping the Broncos surrender the fewest sacks (16) in the NFL while ranking fourth in total offense (399.7 ypg).
 
MOST PRO BOWL SELECTIONS BY A BRONCOS OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
  Player Pos. No.
1. Tom Nalen C 5
2. Ryan Clady T 4
3. Gary Zimmerman T 3
4. Keith Bishop G 2
 
CB CHRIS HARRIS JR.

Harris Jr. is the only Bronco selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2014. Signed by the Broncos as a college free agent in 2011, he is one of just six undrafted cornerbacks in pro football history to make a Pro Bowl with his original team.

Returning from a torn ACL suffered in Denver’s AFC Divisional Playoff Game last season, Harris Jr. has started all 15 games for the Broncos this year and ranks second in the NFL with a 47.3 quarterback rating against him (source: Pro Football Focus).
 
UNDRAFTED CORNERBACKS TO MAKE A PRO BOWL WITH THEIR ORIGINAL TEAM
Player Team Rookie Yr. First Pro Bowl
Cornell Green Dallas 1962 1971*
Emmitt Thomas Kansas City 1966 1971*
Robert James Buffalo 1969 1972
Rolland Lawrence Atlanta 1973 1977
Everson Walls Dallas 1981 1981
Chris Harris Jr. Denver 2011 2014
*Named an AFL All-Star before being selected to the Pro Bowl
 
QB PEYTON MANNING

Manning’s Pro Bowl selection is the 14th of his career, tying center Bruce Matthews and tight end Tony Gonzalez for the most in NFL history.

Through 15 games this season, the five-time NFL MVP has completed 374-of-560 passes (66.8%) for 4,454 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions (102.9 rtg.).
 
MOST PRO BOWL SELECTIONS, NFL HISTORY
  Player Pos. No. Teams/Seasons
1. Peyton Manning QB 14 Indianapolis (1999-2000, '02-10); Denver (2012-14)
  Bruce Matthews C 14 Houston (1988-2001)
  Tony Gonzalez TE 14 Kansas City (1999-2008); Atlanta (2010-13)
4. Jerry Rice WR 13 San Francisco (1986-96, '98); Oakland (2002)
  Reggie White DE 13 Philadelphia (1986-92); Green Bay (1993-98)
  Ray Lewis LB 13 Baltimore (1997-2001, ’03-04, ’06-11)
 
LB VON MILLER

Miller is the fifth Broncos linebacker to be selected to at least three Pro Bowls and just the sixth player in team history to make at least three Pro Bowls in his first four years in the league.

In 15 starts this season, Miller leads the Broncos with 13 sacks (75.5 yds.) to go along with 55 tackles (39 solo), two passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
 
MOST PRO BOWL SELECTIONS   MOST PRO BOWLS BY A BRONCO
BY A BRONCOS LINEBACKER   IN FIRST FOUR NFL SEASONS
  Player No.   Player Pos. No.
1. Randy Gradishar 7   Floyd Little RB 3*
2. Karl Mecklenburg 6   Riley Odoms TE 3
3. Al Wilson 5   Steve Atwater S 3
4. Von Miller 3   Terrell Davis RB 3
  Tom Jackson 3   Ryan Clady T 3
        Von Miller LB 3
        *Includes one AFL All-Star selection
 
CB AQIB TALIB

Talib, who was signed by the Broncos as an unrestricted free agent in March, is a Pro Bowler for the second consecutive season after making the squad with New England last year.

In 14 starts for the Broncos this year, he has totaled a team-best four interceptions (62 yds., 2 TDs) and 17 passes defensed in addition to 59 tackles (51 solo) and one forced fumble. Named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his performance against San Diego on Dec. 14, Talib is one of just three NFL cornerbacks this season to post at least 50 tackles, four interceptions and 15 passes defensed.
               
CORNERBACKS WITH AT LEAST 50 TT, 4 INTs & 15 PDs, NFL, 2014
Player TT INT PD
Buster Skrine, Cle. 50 4 18
Aqib Talib, Den. 51 4 17
Perrish Cox, S.F. 49 5 18
 
WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS

Thomas earned his third consecutive Pro Bowl selection to join Broncos Ring of Famer Rod Smith (2000-01, ’05) as the only receivers in franchise history to be named to at least three all-star games.

With 103 receptions for 1,504 yards (14.6 avg.) with 11 touchdowns this year, Thomas’ nine 100-yard receiving games lead the NFL and represent a team record.
 
MOST REC. YARDS, SINGLE SEASON,   MOST 100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES,
BRONCOS HISTORY   NFL, 2014
  Player No.     Player No.
1. Rod Smith, 2000   1,602   1. Demaryius Thomas, Den. 9
2. Demaryius Thomas, 2014   1,504   2. Emmanuel Sanders, Den. 7
3. Brandon Lloyd, 2010   1,448     Antonio Brown, Pit. 7
4. Demaryius Thomas, 2012   1,434     Julio Jones, Atl. 7
5. Demaryius Thomas, 2013   1,430     Jordy Nelson, G.B. 7
 
TE JULIUS THOMAS

Thomas is a Pro Bowler for the second consecutive year after becoming the first tight end in NFL history to record 12 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons.

With 43 receptions for 489 yards (11.4 avg.) to go along with his team-high 12 touchdowns, Thomas joins Shannon Sharpe (7) and Riley Odoms (4) as the only three tight ends in team history to make multiple Pro Bowls.
 
MOST SEASONS WITH 12 TOUCHDOWNS   MOST RECEIVING TOUCHDOWNS BY A
TIGHT ENDS, NFL HISTORY   TIGHT END, BRONCOS HISTORY
  Player No. Year(s)     Player Year No.
1. Julius Thomas 2 2013-14   1. Julius Thomas 2014 12
  Vernon Davis, S.F. 2 2009, ‘13     Julius Thomas 2013 12
  Antonio Gates, S.D. 2 2004, ‘14   3. Shannon Sharpe 1998 10
  Rob Gronkowski, N.E. 2 2011, ‘14     Shannon Sharpe 1996 10
3. Jimmy Graham, N.O. 1 2013   5. Shannon Sharpe 1993 9
  Wesley Walls, Car. 1 1999          
  Todd Christensen, LAA 1 1983          
  Jerry Smith, Was. 1 1967          
  Mike Ditka, Chi. 1 1961          
 
S T.J. WARD

Like Talib, Ward was signed by Denver as an unrestricted free agent in March coming off his first career Pro Bowl season (with Cleveland).

Ward ranks second on the Broncos with 74 tackles (60 solo) on the year in addition to two sacks (23 yds.), two interceptions (55 yds.) and six passes defensed. He is one of just three NFL defensive backs this season to record at least 70 tackles while posting multiple sacks and interceptions.
 
NFL DEFENSIVE BACKS WITH AT LEAST 70 TT, 2 SACKS & 2 INTs, NFL, 2014
Player TT INT Sk
Michael Griffin, Ten. 103 2 3
Harrison Smith, Min. 88 5 3
T.J. Ward, Den. 74 2 2
 
DE DEMARCUS WARE

Ware, who was signed by the Broncos during the offseason, is making his eighth Pro Bowl appearance to tie for the most selections among active NFL defensive players.

The 10th-year player ranks second on the Broncos with 10 sacks (56.5 yds.) to go along with 38 tackles (31 solo), one interception (3 yds.), one pass defensed and two forced fumbles.
 
MOST PRO BOWL SELECTIONS AMONG ACTIVE NFL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
  Player Pos. No.
1. DeMarcus Ware DE 8
  Charles Woodson S 8
  Troy Polamalu S 8
4. Lance Briggs LB 7
  Dwight Freeney LB 7
  Patrick Willis LB 7
 

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