HONOLULU- On Sunday, January 27 at 7 p.m. in Hawaii, a school-record tying six former Vols will take part in the NFL Pro Bowl, broadcasted live on NBC.
The six Vols chosen to play, as announced on December 26, will actually play in the all-star game Sunday.
Strong safety Eric Berry, punter Dustin Colquitt, running back Arian Foster, quarterback Peyton Manning, linebacker Jerod Mayo and tight end Jason Witten. Five of the six: Berry, Colquitt, Foster, Manning and Mayo have been selected as starters.
With six selections, Tennessee is tied for having the most former players of any school in the nation. Along with the Vols, Georgia and Miami (Fla.) also have six products in the Pro Bowl.
Eric Berry was selected to his second Pro Bowl, also making the trip to Hawaii back in 2011.
In his return to the grid iron after suffering a torn ACL in 2011, Eric Berry finds himself back in the Pro Bowl as an NFC starter. The Georgia native started and played all 16 games at strong safety for the Chiefs this season making 86 tackles, 73 unassisted. While also tacking on 10 passes defended and an interception.
- KCChiefs.com: <a href=" http://www.kcchiefs.com/media-center/videos/Pro-Bowl-Wired-Eric-Berry/efc335f3-e936-4d5b-bfdf-b147bb789ec7"> Pro Bowl Wired: Eric Berry</a>
Dustin Colquitt is making his first Pro Bowl appearance of his NFL career after a record setting season with the Chiefs.
Colquitt set a single-season franchise record with 45 punts inside the 20-yard line. Colquitt set a new NFL mark for most punts inside the 20-yard line in a single season passing Arizona P Dave Zastudil's 2012 mark of 44 with a booming 55 yard punt to the Denver 15-yard line on the Chiefs last possession.
In 2012, Colquitt punted 83 times for 3,887 yards, marking the seventh-consecutive time in his eight-year career that he has punted for more than 3,000 yards in a single season. He has a gross average of 46.8 yards per kick, the highest gross average of his career, and carries a 40.8 net average, a career best. To go along with his 45 punts inside the 20, he has seven touchbacks and a season-long punt of 71 yards.
Arian Foster is appearing in his third-straight Pro Bowl.
The four-year NFL vet tallied 1,424 yards rushing during the regular season, the second highest of his career, playing and starting all 16 games in 2012.
Foster also rushed for 15 touchdowns, leading all NFL rushers and caught another two. His 17 total touchdowns is also an NFL best. Foster is sixth in the NFL with his 1,424 yards and second in the AFC behind Jamaal Charles.
In the postseason, Foster became the first player to run for 100 yards in each of his first three playoff games in NFL history. The VFL gained 140 rushing yards on 32 carries with a touchdown in the Wild Card game against Cincinnati. He also had eight catches for 34 yards to gain 174 total yards.
Foster’s 2012 postseason total included 230 rushing yards, 97 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Peyton Manning will take part in his 12th Pro Bowl in 15 years playing in the NFL.
Manning's 12 Pro Bowl selections are the most for a quarterback in NFL history. He is also the first quarterback to make a Pro Bowl one year removed from missing a full season due to injury or illness.
Manning also set some NFL records in 2012. Against Houston at the beginning of the season, Manning recorded his 64th career 300+ yard game, an NFL best passing Dan Marino in the record books. During the season Manning notched nine 300+ yard game, tying his career best and setting a Bronco record, while extending his NFL record to 72 games.
In the Divisional Playoffs, Manning’s Broncos fell to the Ravens in double overtime. Manning finished with a 28-for-43, 290 yard effort tossing three touchdowns but also two interceptions, one of which led to Baltimore's game winning field goal in double-overtime.
Manning moved into a tie with Dan Marino for the fourth-most playoff touchdowns thrown (32) and his three TD effort marked the 10th time this season that he has accomplished the feat. His three touchdowns also tied a Broncos single-playoff game record set by John Elway who did it three times during his Denver career, the last time coming in 1994.
Jerod Mayo has earned his second Pro Bowl honor and will return to the all-star game for the first time since 2010.
Mayo led the AFC in tackles for the majority of the season and for a few weeks was the NFL's leading tackler. Mayo, who played and started all 16 games at middle linebacker for the Patriots went over the century mark for the fourth time in his five year NFL career and finished with a team and AFC-leading 147 tackles. He ranks fourth in the NFL.
Mayo also tacked on three sacks, three passes defended, four forced fumbles (a career-high after tallying four through his first four seasons) and an interception. Mayo is hailed as the quarterback of the Patriots defense and has led the team to its fourth-straight AFC East divisional championship and fourth-straight playoff appearance in his five seasons with the Patriots.
In the 2012 playoffs, Mayo notched 15 tackles and forced a fumble against Houston and Baltimore.
Jason Witten will return to Hawaii for the eighth time in his storied 10 year career in the NFL.
Witten rebounded nicely, from a lacerated spleen suffered during the preseason, and finished the year playing and starting in all 16 games on the year, making a NFL record for a tight end 110 catches for 1,039 yards and three touchdowns. It was the fourth time in his career that he broke the 1,000-yard barrier.
Jason Witten also hit the 800 career catch mark in the final game of the regular season, just the third tight end and 26th player in the history of the NFL to do so, and the fastest. Witten accomplished the feat in just 159 games. With 806 career catches, he is just 10 away from passing Shannon Sharpe (815, 1990-2003) for second place on the All-Time NFL receptions by tight ends list.
He also set a new Cowboys' record for career catches passing Michael Irvin (750) earlier in the season.
Witten also became the second Tennessee product with 100 catches in a season joining Carl Pickens, who had 100 catches in 1996 with the Cincinnati Bengals. Witten now holds the record for most catches by a former Vol in a season with 103.
In a tough loss to the New York Giants on Oct. 28, Witten broke his own Cowboys receiving record and set a league record for tight ends with 18 catches for 167 yards. Only Brandon Marshall, Terrell Owens and Tom Fears have ever caught as many or more passes at any position.
(E-mail Stan Crawley at email@example.com)