BEREA, Ohio—The Browns aren’t going to the playoffs this season again, but they do have three players that will play in the post-season.
Safety Tashaun Gipson, cornerback Joe Haden and offensive tackle Joe Thomas have been named to the 2015 Pro Bowl, the league announced Tuesday. In addition, safety Donte Whitner was selected as an alternate.
“I’m very happy for our players that have received the recognition of being named to the Pro Bowl because they are deserving of the honor,” Mike Pettine said. “They have each worked extremely hard this season and have been great examples for their teammates. They are selfless players that I know would trade the individual accolade for more team success. Each will serve as a great representative of the Cleveland Browns and the Dawg Pound in the game next month.”
Gipson is a first-time honoree, while Thomas (eight) and Haden (two) have multiple selections. Thomas is the first offensive lineman in NFL history to be named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight seasons. With Gipson and Haden each earning Pro Bowl status, it marks the first time the Browns have had two defensive backs selected since Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield were selected to the 1989 Pro Bowl.
“I feel truly blessed to be selected to the Pro Bowl, and I really want to first thank God because without Him, this wouldn’t be possible; and thank my family, my coaches and my teammates for supporting me and believing in me, as well as the Dawg Pound,” Gipson said. “It’s an honor to be recognized by the NFL and the fans, but it’s also a credit to the talented guys on our defense and our coaches who I’ve been fortunate to work alongside and play with all year.”
Gipson is the first undrafted defensive player for the Browns to make to Pro Bowl since LB Mike Johnson in 1991. Despite appearing in just 11 games this season, Gipson is second in the NFL with a career-high six interceptions. He added 52 tackles, eight passes defensed, one fumble recovery and one defensive score on an interception return. He sustained a knee injury at Atlanta on Nov. 23 that ended his season.
Haden is the first Browns cornerback selected to consecutive Pro Bowls since Minnifield was selected to four in a row from 1987–90. In 14 games this season, Haden has totaled 69 tackles, 17 passes defensed, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one blocked field goal. Since joining the team as the seventh-overall pick in 2010, his 84 pass breakups are the most in the league during that span.
“I want to thank all of our fans, I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate them for always supporting us,” Haden said. “I feel like we have done some good things this season and we are going to continue to push forward for the city of Cleveland. It’s great to be recognized for my second Pro Bowl, but I would trade it all for team success and that’s what everyone is our locker room is working for.”
Thomas trails only Hall of Famers Jim Brown (9) and Lou Groza (9) for the most Pro Bowls by a Browns player. Thomas has started all 127 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 7,856 consecutive offensive snaps is the longest active streak in the league. Thomas joins Jim Brown (1958–66) as the only Browns selected to the Pro Bowl in each of their first eight seasons in the league.
“It’s always an honor to be recognized for your hard work by the fans, coaches and your peers,” Thomas said. “It’s a feeling that never gets old. It means a lot to me to be selected to my eighth Pro Bowl and it is very humbling to be mentioned with the likes of Browns greats like Jim Brown and Lou Groza.”
This year’s Pro Bowl will not be in Hawaii, but in Glendale, Arizona on Jan. 25, 2015 at 8 p.m. televised by ESPN.