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News » Rogers, Thomas named to AFC Pro Bowl team dark journey

Rogers, Thomas named to AFC Pro Bowl team dark journey

Rogers, Thomas named to AFC Pro Bowl team dark journey
We depart from the dismal happenings of a 4-10 Browns season to reflect on some positive news.

Left tackle Joe Thomas and nose tackle Shaun Rogers were selected to the AFC Pro Bowl team and Josh Cribbs was named a first alternate at return specialist and special teams.

Also, coach Romeo Crennel was not hit by a shoe thrown by the media.

For Thomas, it's two Pro Bowls in two seasons, a good start on his frequently expressed goal of someday winning election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He made the team as an alternate as a rookie and was moved up to the roster to play for injured Jason Peters of Buffalo. This year, Thomas joined Peters as a starter.

"I'm very proud," Thomas said, "but I'd give this up any day to be on a team that's winning 10 games and making the playoffs like we almost did last year."

As the Browns' once high-powered offense collapsed under the weight of injuries, dropped passes and missed assignments, it appeared to have dragged down Thomas with it. He gave up a sack to Philadelphia's Trent Cole in the 30-10 drubbing by the Eagles on Monday night.

But Thomas maintains his game has improved over his rookie season.

"I think the quality of opponents our team has played against and the different defensive ends I've faced week in and week out is much higher than it was the previous year," Thomas said. "I feel like I've definitely improved a pretty good amount over what I was last year."

Rogers was selected as the third interior defensive lineman behind Albert Haynesworth of Tennessee and Kris Jenkins of the New York Jets. He beat out AFC North stalwarts Haloti Ngata of Baltimore and Casey Hampton of Pittsburgh.

Rogers probably will get bumped up to the starting lineup for the Feb. 8 Pro Bowl in Honolulu because Haynesworth is out until the playoffs with a sprained knee.

Rogers previously made the NFC Pro Bowl team while with Detroit following the 2004 and '05 seasons.

"I don't know how many people have done that [made the Pro Bowl in both conferences]," Rogers said. "It's just good to be recognized by your peers. It speaks volumes not just about myself but about the guys around me and what we're trying to do."

It also vindicates Rogers, and the Browns, for swinging the deal with Detroit for cornerback Leigh Bodden and a third-round draft choice. Rogers arrived with literal and figurative heavy baggage, lambasted in Detroit for being overweight and having a bad attitude.

Playing in every game and logging the most defensive snaps on the team, Rogers leads all linemen on the club with 72 tackles, including 51 solo. He also leads the Browns with 4? sacks, 15 quarterback pressures and seven tackles for losses. He has two blocked kicks, extending his league lead among active players to 12.

And he's done it all while playing nose tackle in a 3-4 defensive scheme for the first time in his career.

"Most definitely there were some questions about me at the beginning of the year," Rogers said. "Hopefully, I've answered some of my critics.

"In my heart, I knew what I was capable of doing. Some of the things that were said were not necessarily the whole truth. That's a whole 'nother story. I came here with good expectations, no pressure, and the Browns obviously saw something in me that was the opposite of what things were being said. They reached out their hand and we came together.

"At least it's one positive. We definitely would like to have more W's, but at the end of the day I am a Brown and will be representing our organization. So it's a positive for this organization."

Cribbs, who was voted as the AFC special teamer last year, has played hurt the entire season. Still, he remains the only player in the league to lead his team in kick returns (25.8-yard average), punt returns (8.8) and special teams tackles (25). He is 10th in the NFL in kick return average and 15th on punts.

Cribbs was one of six Browns voted to the Pro Bowl last year.

Kicker Phil Dawson was voted second alternate and linebacker D'Qwell Jackson and left guard Eric Steinbach were named third alternates.

Alternates frequently are added to the regular roster when others bow out because of injuries.

Speaking of injuries: Tight end Steve Heiden tore his right anterior cruciate ligament in Monday night's loss and will have surgery on Thursday, Crennel said. Heiden also strained the medial collateral ligament after Eagles tackle Broderick Bunkley rolled up on the back of his leg.

Also going under the knife will be rookie linebacker Beau Bell, who will have arthroscopic surgery on a knee.

Both players are done for the season, raising the number of players lost to 10.

On top of it: The Browns did not challenge the fumble of Philadelphia cornerback Asante Samuel at the 1-yard line on an interception runback and ask for a ruling of illegal forward pass and the resulting 5-yard penalty back to the Browns' 6 because they were sure it was a fumble. They were assured by the NFL office on Tuesday that the play was called correctly as a touchdown after Samuel recovered the ball in the end zone.

This and that: With the Browns down to two healthy tight ends, Crennel said that rookie Martin Rucker would have to step up and be ready to play. Rucker will be No. 2, the coach said, behind Darnell Dinkins. . . . Regular starter Kellen Winslow (high ankle sprain) has started exercising in a pool, Crennel said, but will not practice today. . . . Ken Dorsey will make his third start in a row at quarterback Sunday against Cincinnati. Crennel said that recently acquired backup Bruce Gradkowski is "not as much [caught up] as we'd like him to be, [but] he can go in a game if he had to."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

tgrossi@plaind.com, 216-999-4670


Sunday, Feb. 8 At Honolulu (s-starter)



Wide Receivers: s-Andre Johnson, Houston; s-Brandon Marshall, Denver; Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis; Wes Welker, New England.

Tackles: s-Jason Peters, Buffalo; s-Joe Thomas, Cleveland; Michael Roos, Tennessee.

Guards: s-Kris Dielman, San Diego; s-Alan Faneca, New York; Brian Waters, Kansas City.

Centers: s-Kevin Mawae, Tennessee; Nick Mangold, New York.

Tight Ends: s-Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City; Antonio Gates, San Diego.

Quarterbacks: s-Peyton Manning, Indianapolis; Jay Cutler, Denver; Brett Favre, New York.

Running Backs: s-Thomas Jones, New York; Ronnie Brown, Miami; Chris Johnson, Tennessee.

Fullback: s-Le'Ron McClain, Baltimore.


Ends: s-Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis; s-Mario Williams, Houston; Robert Mathis, Indianapolis.

Interior Linemen: s-Albert Haynesworth, Tennessee; s-Kris Jenkins, New York; Shaun Rogers, Cleveland.

Outside Linebackers: s-James Harrison, Pittsburgh; s-Joey Porter, Miami; Terrell Suggs, Baltimore.

Inside Linebackers: s-Ray Lewis, Baltimore; James Farrior, Pittsburgh.

Cornerbacks: s-Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland; s-Cortland Finnegan, Tennessee; Darrelle Revis, New York.

Free Safety: s-Ed Reed, Baltimore.

Strong Safeties: s-Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh; Chris Hope, Tennessee.


Punter: Shane Lechler, Oakland.

Placekicker: Stephen Gostkowski, New England.

Kick Return Specialist: Leon Washington, New York.

Special Teamer: Brendon Ayanbadejo, Baltimore.



Wide Receivers: s-Anquan Boldin, Arizona; s-Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona; Steve Smith, Carolina; Roddy White, Atlanta.

Tackles: s-Jordan Gross, Carolina; s-Walter Jones, Seattle; Chris Samuels, Washington.

Guards: s-Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota; s-Chris Snee, New York; Leonard Davis, Dallas.

Centers: s-Andre Gurode, Dallas; Shaun O'Hara, New York.

Tight Ends: s-Jason Witten, Dallas; Chris Cooley, Washington.

Quarterbacks: s-Kurt Warner, Arizona; Drew Brees, New Orleans; Eli Manning, New York.

Running Backs: s-Adrian Peterson, Minnesota; Clinton Portis, Washington; Michael Turner, Atlanta.

Fullback: s-Mike Sellers, Washington.


Ends: s-Julius Peppers, Carolina; s-Justin Tuck, New York; Jared Allen, Minnesota.

Interior Linemen: s-Jay Ratliff, Dallas; s-Kevin Williams, Minnesota; Pat Williams, Minnesota.

Outside Linebackers: s-Lance Briggs, Chicago; s-DeMarcus Ware, Dallas; Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay.

Inside Linebackers: s-Patrick Willis, San Francisco; Jon Beason, Carolina.

Cornerbacks: s-Antoine Winfield, Minnesota; s-Charles Woodson, Green Bay; Asante Samuel, Philadelphia.

Strong Safety: s-Adrian Wilson, Arizona.

Free Safeties: s-Nick Collins, Green Bay; Brian Dawkins, Philadelphia.


Punter: Jeff Feagles, New York.

Placekicker: John Carney, New York.

Kick Return Specialist: Clifton Smith, Tampa Bay.

Special Teamer: Sean Morey, Arizona.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 18, 2008

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Terry Cousin Name: Terry Cousin
Position: CB
Age: 33
Experience: 12 years
College: South Carolina
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