BEREA — Threes are wild for the Browns and the Pro Bowl.
Defensive end Myles Garrett, left guard Joel Bitonio and running back Nick Chubb were voted in as starters, as rosters were announced Wednesday night for the all-star event. It’s the third straight year the trio made the Pro Bowl together.
Receiver Amari Cooper, right tackle Jack Conklin, cornerback Denzel Ward, right guard Wyatt Teller and tight end David Njoku were picked as alternates through voting by fans, players and coaches.
The Pro Bowl has a new format this year, featuring skills competitions and a non-contact flag football game Feb. 5 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Garrett received the most votes among AFC edge rushers. He’s the first Browns defensive end to make four Pro Bowls since Bill Glass (1963-65 and 1968).
Despite playing with a sprained left shoulder for much of the year, Garrett is third in the league with 13.5 sacks, two behind the lead of San Francisco’s Nick Bosa. He has the chance to break his Browns season record of 16 set last year.
“It’s stacked all over the board with D-ends who are playing at a very high level and to lead that group, it means a lot,” Garrett said last week. “It’s not guaranteed that I’m able to do that, especially coming off the injury that I have. So being able to still come back, perform at a high level, help win games, all of that means a lot.”
Bitonio was voted to his fifth straight Pro Bowl, is second among guards with an 86.7 grade from Pro Football Focus and hasn’t missed a regular-season snap since the start of the 2016 season. He’s the ninth Browns player to be named to five consecutive Pro Bowls and the first guard since Hall of Famer Gene Hickerson made six straight from 1966-71.
“It’d be an awesome honor, especially for offensive line,” Bitonio said Wednesday before the rosters were announced. “You don’t have stats to really back you up and those type of things. So it’s really a way to look back on the season and say like, hey, I had a successful season.
“You know as a player if you played well or not. And there’s definitely some bias to Pro Bowl voting for linemen, of course, but it’s something that you look back on at the end of your career.”
Chubb was voted to his fourth straight Pro Bowl, sitting third in the NFL with 1,252 rushing yards and tied for third with 12 rushing touchdowns. He joins Jim Brown (1958-66) and Leroy Kelly (1967-72) as the only Browns running backs to make four consecutive Pro Bowls.
Among the alternates, Cooper was a four-time Pro Bowler previously. He has 67 catches for 932 yards and seven touchdowns.
Conklin is a two-time All-Pro but was never voted to the Pro Bowl. Ward previously made two Pro Bowls. If Njoku gets the call up, it would be his first Pro Bowl.