The National Football League announced on Friday that eight members of the Kansas City Chiefs have been selected to participate in the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl, Presented by McDonald's. The below players have earned a spot on the NFL's Pro Bowl Roster:
Branden Albert (Tackle) – 1st Nomination -
Eric Berry (Safety) – 3rd Nomination -
Jamaal Charles (Running Back) – 3rd Nomination
Brandon Flowers (Cornerback) – 1st Nomination
Tamba Hali (Linebacker) – 3rd Nomination -
Justin Houston (Linebacker) – 2nd Nomination -
Dexter McCluster (Punt Returner) – 1st Nomination
Dontari Poe (Defensive Tackle) – 1st Nomination
The Pro Bowl will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. This year's all-star game features a new format, the familiar AFC vs. NFC match-up that has existed since 1971 will no longer be in place. Instead, players were selected without regard to conference in voting by fans, coaches and players. Players will be assigned to teams through a Pro Bowl Draft that will take place on Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. CT on NFL Network.
Branden Albert (6-5, 316) has played in 12 games (12 starts) at left tackle. Albert and the offensive line have been critical to the club's success this season, helping pave the way for one of the league's most prolific running backs in Jamaal Charles, who eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing for the fourth time in his career, behind Albert and company.
This will be Albert's initial visit to the Pro Bowl and he is the first Kansas City tackle to be selected for this honor since T Willie Roaf after the 2005 season. The Glen Burnie, Md., native played collegiately at Virginia, where he started all 37 games and earned first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors. Albert originally joined the Chiefs as the club's second of two first-round draft picks (15th overall) in the 2008 NFL draft.
"I'm proud of the accomplishment," Albert said. "But at the same time, I hope we're playing in New York, the week after the Pro Bowl; that's my goal."
Eric Berry (6-0, 211) has started all 15 contests for the club, recording 74 tackles (66 solo), 11 tackles for loss, three interceptions with two returned for touchdowns and 10 passes defensed. He has also recorded a career-high 3.5 sacks (-26.5 yards). His career numbers include 286 tackles (221 solo), 5.5 sacks (-37.5 yards), eight interceptions for 236 yards with three touchdown returns, 31 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Berry's initial trip to the Pro Bowl was in 2010, after his rookie season. He became the first Chiefs rookie to earn a Pro Bowl berth since LB Derrick Thomas, following the 1989 season. He was the first Chiefs safety to make the NFL's All-Star game since S Jerome Woods, following the 2003 season. The Fairburn, Ga., native originally joined the Chiefs as Kansas City's first pick (fifth overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft.
"It's a big honor," Berry said. "Because, it's fans voting, coaches voting and players voting. Right now, while I really appreciate the honor, we're just focused on San Diego and continuing to chase the ultimate team goal, a championship."
Jamaal Charles (5-11, 199) has started all 15 games in 2013, recording 1,287 yards on 259 carries (5.0 avg.) with a career-high 12 rushing touchdowns. He has caught 70 passes for 693 yards (9.9 avg.), with seven receiving touchdowns. Charles currently is second in the NFL in rushing yards (1,287) and yards from scrimmage (1,980). He recorded at least 100 yards from scrimmage and at least one touchdown in each of the first seven games of the 2013 season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson (1975) as the only two players in NFL history to accomplish that feat, spanning a season's first seven games. Charles also showed off his versatility this season in the receiving game. His 70 receptions and 693 receiving yards are both team-highs, while his seven receiving scores pace the club. At Oakland (12/15/13), he tallied eight pass receptions for 195 yards (24.4 avg.), with four catches going for touchdowns, setting a new NFL single-game record for most receiving touchdowns by a running back in NFL history. He also became the first player in NFL history to record four receiving touchdowns and at least one rushing touchdown in the same game. For his record-setting performance at Oakland, Charles earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week, marking his third-career Offensive Player of the Week Award.
A three-time Pro Bowl honoree (2010, 2012, 2013), Charles' career numbers include 1,043 carries for 5,823 yards, with 29 rushing touchdowns. He owns 222 receptions for 1,975 yards with 14 touchdown grabs. His 5.58 yards per carry average is the highest average in NFL history of any back with more than 1,000 carries, topping Pro Football Hall of Fame RB Jim Brown, who averaged 5.22 yards per carry. Charles has eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark in four of his six NFL seasons with the Chiefs, becoming the first running back in franchise history to have four career 1,000-yard seasons. The Port Arthur, Texas, native originally joined the Chiefs as a third-round pick (73rd overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Brandon Flowers (5-9, 187) has started 13 contests for the club in 2013, missing two games with a knee injury. He has recorded 68 tackles (63 solo), including three for loss to rank third on the Chiefs defense. He has one interception for 32 yards, 1.0 sack (-6.0 yards), two quarterback pressures and seven passes defensed on the season. He showed his versatility in 2013 by working on both outside receivers and moving inside to cover slot receivers. His career numbers include 421 tackles (338 solo), 2.0 sacks (-8.0 yards), 17 interceptions for 312 yards, with three touchdown returns, 97 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries for 96 yards.
This marks Flowers' first selection to the NFL Pro Bowl, after being named a first alternate for the AFC squad, following the 2012 season. The Delray Beach, Fla., native originally joined the Chiefs as the club's second-round pick (35th overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Tamba Hali (6-3, 275) has started all 15 games in 2013, logging 11.0 sacks (-78.5 yards) to tie for the team lead. He has added 46 tackles (39 solo), including 12 for loss, 12 QB pressures, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, including one returned 11 yards for a touchdown, an interception returned for a 10-yard touchdown and a pass defensed. He recorded his first two-career touchdowns in 2013. His first came in Week 1, intercepting a QB Blaine Gabbert pass and returning it 10 yards for a touchdown at Jacksonville (9/8/13). He also returned a WR T.J. Graham fumble 11 yards for a touchdown at Buffalo (11/3/13) in Week 9. His 11.0 sacks are tied for fifth in the AFC and are tied for eighth in the NFL. He became only the third player in franchise history to record double-digit sack totals in three separate seasons, joining Neil Smith (four) and Derrick Thomas (seven). Hali has won AFC Defensive Player of the Week twice in 2013.
A three-time Pro Bowl nominee (2011-13), the Gbarnga, Liberia, native grew up in Teaneck, N.J. He has started all 125 games he has played in, during his eight-year NFL career with Kansas City. He has amassed 73.5 career sacks (-473.5 yards), ranking third in team history for most-career sacks. In that time, he has accumulated 472 tackles (363 solo), 115 QB pressures, 28 forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries with one for a touchdown, 15 passes defensed and two interceptions, including one for a touchdown. The Penn State product originally joined the Chiefs as the team's first-round draft pick (20th overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft.
"I'm honored to be voted in," Hali said. "This honor is an acknowledgment of our team and the group effort we put in. The coaches do a great job of putting us in positions to make plays and this is another way that's being recognized."
Justin Houston (6-3, 258) has started 11 contests at left outside linebacker, posting 44 tackles (40 solo), including 11 for loss, 11.0 sacks (-75.0 yards), 15 QB pressures, four passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. He has been inactive with an elbow injury for four contests. Houston earned two AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in 2013 and the AFC's Defensive Player of the Month for September. His first accolade came after a Week 1 performance, where he recorded five solo tackles, including three for loss, 3.0 sacks (-27.0 yards) and three QB pressures at Jacksonville (9/8/13). His second award came in Week 3 in Philadelphia (9/19/13), after he recorded a career-high 4.5 sacks (-28.0 yards), seven tackles (six solo), including four for loss, five QB pressures, three passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
A Statesboro, Ga., native, Houston has played in 43 games (37 starts) since being drafted in the third round (70th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Chiefs. He has 180 tackles (157 solo), 26.5 sacks (-171.5 yards), an interception for 32 yards, 13 passes defensed, four fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and 46 QB pressures. He played collegiately at Georgia.
"It's a great accomplishment," Houston said. "Anytime you can make it there, that says a lot about you and your teammates. I know I didn't do it alone; I had help from my teammates."
Dexter McCluster (5-8, 170) was selected to the Pro Bowl as a punt returner. This season, he has returned 57 punts for 654 yards (11.5 avg.) with two touchdowns. His 654 punt return yards rank first in franchise history and his 57 punt returns are the second-highest single-season total in club annals. McCluster set a single-season team record with 177 punt return yards at Washington (12/8/13), including a 74-yard touchdown return. His other return score this season was an 89-yard runback vs. the New York Giants on Sept. 29. In addition to his return duties, McCluster has played a critical role on the club's offense, catching 47 passes for 449 yards and two touchdown this season.
The Largo, Fla., native's career numbers include 78 punt returns for 927 yards (11.9 avg.) with three touchdowns. His longest return was a 94-yard touchdown run vs. San Diego (9/13/10) in his first-career NFL game. The Mississippi product joined the Chiefs as the first of two second-round picks (36th overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Dontari Poe (6-3, 346) has started all 15 games at defensive tackle, posting 51 tackles (43 solo), including five for loss, 4.5 sacks (-30.5 yards), seven QB pressures and four passes defensed in his second season with the Chiefs. After the 2012 season, he received the Mack Lee Hill Award as the team's top rookie or first-year player, after recording 38 tackles (28 solo), including three for loss, three QB pressures and four passes defensed. Poe has started all 31 games in his first two seasons. He was selected by the Chiefs in the first round (11th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft.
A Memphis, Tenn., native, Poe saw action in 35 games (30 starts) in three seasons at Memphis, recording 101 tackles (57 solo), 21.5 tackles for loss (-66.0 yards), 5.0 sacks (-23.0 yards), four forced fumbles and four pass breakups.