Four Seahawks Earn Pro Bowl Honors, Including First-Timer Cliff Avril

Cliff Avril earned Pro Bowl honors for the first time, one of four Seahawks players named to the NFC roster Tuesday.

For the first time in his nine-year NFL career, Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril is a Pro Bowler.

Avril, who through 14 games has a career-best 11.5 sacks and five forced fumbles, was one of four Seahawks defensive players named to the NFC Pro Bowl squad Tuesday night along with linebacker Bobby Wagner, defensive end Michael Bennett and cornerback Richard Sherman.

"It's an honor," Avril said on the NFL Network after the Pro Bowl rosters were announced. "To get the recognition from your peers and the media, it's definitely an honor. I'm glad to have finally gotten one after nine years."

Avril, whose 25 quarterback hits rank second in the NFL, is also the Seahawks' 2016 nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. In addition to enjoying a career-year on the field, Avril has been busy off the field as well, spending time this offseason in Haiti helping rebuild a school and hosting youth clinics. Avril has also pledged to fund construction of a new house in Haiti through New Story Charity for every sack he records this season.

"We've seen his play be so on in a lot of different ways, whether it's rushing the passer, pressuring, or getting his sacks, or knocking balls loose, or knocking balls down, he's just been a great factor, and in the running game too," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last month. "He has played beautiful football… I think he's just had a great year, everything has fit together and he's playing like crazy. I'm really fired up for him."

Wagner, who was named to the Pro-Bowl roster for a third straight year, currently leads the NFL with 145 tackles and is the first player in franchise history to record five consecutive 100-tackle seasons. Wagner needs nine more tackles to break Terry Beeson's team record set in 1978.

"This is Bobby's best season," said fellow linebacker K.J. Wright, who himself was named a Pro Bowl alternate. "He's a tackling machine. His pass and route recognition has improved a whole lot since last year. He is definitely looking good this year and he's leading the league in tackles, and his blitzing is really improved from last year as well."

Sherman, who is a Pro Bowler for the fourth time in his six-year career, leads the Seahawks with four interceptions, and since 2011, his 30 interceptions and 94 passes defensed lead the NFL. Sherman is currently second on the team with 11 passes defensed this season.

Bennett, who earned his second consecutive Pro-Bowl nod, ranks third on the team with 3.0 sacks and fourth with 14 quarterback hits despite missing five games with a knee injury. But despite his own recognition, Bennett was happier to see his teammate and friend finally honored as a Pro Bowler.

"I'm just happy Cliff got in, because Cliff is one of the best defensive ends in the NFL," Bennett said on the NFL Network. "To see him get it, it just makes it a lot better. I'm just happy to get a chance to play with all these great players once again."

Another eight Seahawks were named Pro Bowl alternates, meaning they could be added to the team later if other players drop out: receiver Doug Baldwin, center Justin Britt, safety Kam Chancellor, tight end Jimmy Graham, kicker Steven Hauschka, return specialist Tyler Lockett, quarterback Russell Wilson and linebacker K.J. Wright.

The 2017 Pro Bowl will be held on Sunday, January 29 in Orlando, Fla., one week before Super Bowl LI.


2017 PRO BOWL PLAYERS BY POSITION, courtesy NFL Communications

(*First-time Pro Bowl selection; Bold/Italic: Starter)

AFC

OFFENSE (21)

QUARTERBACKS (3)

TIGHT ENDS (2)

Tom Brady, New England

Travis Kelce, Kansas City

Derek Carr, Oakland

Delanie Walker, Tennessee

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh

TACKLES (3)

WIDE RECEIVERS (4)


Taylor Lewan, Tennessee

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh

Donald Penn, Oakland

Amari Cooper, Oakland

Joe Thomas, Cleveland

A.J. Green, Cincinnati

T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis

GUARDS (3)

David DeCastro, Pittsburgh

RUNNING BACKS (3)


Kelechi Osemele, Oakland

Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh

Marshal Yanda, Baltimore

LeSean McCoy, Buffalo

DeMarco Murray, Tennessee

CENTERS (2)


Rodney Hudson, Oakland

FULLBACK (1)

Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh


Kyle Juszczyk, Baltimore


DEFENSE (18)

DEFENSIVE ENDS (3)

INSIDE/MIDDLE LINEBACKERS (2)


Jadeveon Clowney, Houston


Dont'a Hightower, New England

Khalil Mack, Oakland

C.J. Mosley, Baltimore

Cameron Wake, Miami

CORNERBACKS (4)

INTERIOR LINEMEN (3)

Chris Harris, Jr., Denver

Geno Atkins, Cincinnati


Casey Hayward, San Diego

Jurrell Casey, Tennessee

Marcus Peters, Kansas City

Ndamukong Suh, Miami

Aqib Talib, Denver

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (3)

FREE SAFETIES (2)

Lorenzo Alexander, Buffalo

Devin McCourty, New England

Von Miller, Denver

Reggie Nelson, Oakland

Brian Orakpo, Tennessee

STRONG SAFETY (1)

Eric Berry, Kansas City

SPECIALISTS (4)

PUNTER (1)

RETURN SPECIALIST (1)

Pat McAfee, Indianapolis


Tyreek Hill, Kansas City

PLACEKICKERS (1)

SPECIAL TEAMER (1)

Justin Tucker, Baltimore

Matthew Slater, New England

NFC

OFFENSE (21)

QUARTERBACKS (3)

TIGHT ENDS (2)


Dak Prescott, Dallas

Greg Olsen, Carolina

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

*

Jordan Reed, Washington

Matt Ryan, Atlanta

TACKLES (3)

WIDE RECEIVERS (4)

Jason Peters, Philadelphia

Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants

Tyron Smith, Dallas


Mike Evans, Tampa Bay

Trent Williams, Washington

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona

Julio Jones, Atlanta

GUARDS (3)


T.J. Lang, Green Bay

RUNNING BACKS (3)

Zack Martin, Dallas


Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas


Brandon Scherff, Washington

Devonta Freeman, Atlanta


David Johnson, Arizona

CENTERS (2)

Travis Frederick, Dallas

FULLBACK (1)

Alex Mack, Atlanta

Mike Tolbert, Carolina


DEFENSE (18)

DEFENSIVE ENDS (3)

INSIDE/MIDDLE LINEBACKERS (2)


Cliff Avril, Seattle

Luke Kuechly, Carolina

Michael Bennett, Seattle

Bobby Wagner, Seattle

Everson Griffen, Minnesota

CORNERBACKS (4)

INTERIOR LINEMEN (3)


Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants

Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia

Patrick Peterson, Arizona

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles


Xavier Rhodes, Minnesota

Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay

Richard Sherman, Seattle

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (3)

FREE SAFETIES (2)


Vic Beasley, Atlanta


Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay

Thomas Davis, Carolina

Harrison Smith, Minnesota

Ryan Kerrigan, Washington

STRONG SAFETY (1)


Landon Collins, New York Giants

SPECIALISTS (4)

PUNTER (1)

RETURN SPECIALIST (1)

Johnny Hekker, Los Angeles

Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota

PLACEKICKERS (1)

SPECIAL TEAMER (1)


Matt Bryant, Atlanta


Dwayne Harris, New York Giants

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