The NFL has announced that fourth-year wide receiver Calvin Johnson and rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh have been named starters to the 2011 NFC Pro Bowl roster.
This is Johnson’s first Pro Bowl bid in four seasons.
“The Pro Bowl is a great honor for a player because the vote comes from the coaches and players as well as the fans. Both Calvin and Ndamukong had outstanding seasons and today’s announcement confirms the NFC coaches and players felt the same way,” said Head Coach Jim Schwartz. “While this is an individual honor, Calvin and ND’s success would not be possible without the help of their teammates and coaches.”
He currently has 1,120 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 14.5 receiving yards per game. His 12 touchdowns matches a career best and ties him for fourth in the NFL.
For those who have been around Johnson since he was drafted by Detroit in 2007, this honor is past due.
“It’s an exciting time for him,” said wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson. “All of us around the Lions organization have seen him come in and work his butt off. He didn’t say anything – he’s very unselfish.
“This is definitely the first stepping stone of his young NFL career.”
Johnson is the first Detroit Lions’ wide receiver to be named to the Pro Bowl outright since Herman Moore following the 1997 season.
“Not only making the Pro Bowl, but being elected to be a Pro Bowl starter definitely says something about how you’re viewed around the league by your peers,” said Jefferson.
“There are great receivers in this league and to be chosen as a starter in the Pro Bowl, that’s a great accomplishment. That’s what you want as a player – you want the respect of your peers. That means a lot.”
Suh has lived up to the hype that surrounded him as he prepared for the 2010 NFL Draft.
His season total of nine sacks currently leads the NFL in sacks by a defensive tackle and sacks by a rookie. That mark also ties him for third in the NFL all-time in sacks by a rookie defensive tackle.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” said Suh. “In the NFL I can’t expect anything more and it’s truly a blessing and something that I’m definitely elated about and it’s only going to make me want to work harder to get back there again.”
Suh marks the first defensive rookie to make the Pro Bowl for the Detroit Lions since Al “Bubba” Baker in 1979. He is the first overall rookie to be elected since Barry Sanders in 1990.
“From day one, Ndamukong has come in here with a great attitude and a great work ethic,” said Lions’ defensive line coach, Kris Kocurek. “He’s very, very focused on the job at hand each and every week.
“He played a totally different scheme in college than what we’re doing now. The transition that he has made into our scheme, I don’t know that a whole lot of defensive tackles in particular could make that transition as fast as he has.”
Suh was sure to give credit to Kocurek and the rest of his teammates along the defensive line.
“If it weren’t for them, who knows what would have happened to the season,” he said. “I’ve definitely got to thank them and Coach Schwartz and the rest of the defense because it’s a total team effort – defensive effort – and I can’t say much more than that.”
Posted in DetroitLions.com Blog | 51 Comments »