Mathis, Manning, Freeney, Wayne Named to Pro Bowl
INDIANAPOLIS – Robert Mathis has had big statistical seasons before.
The Colts' six-year veteran defensive end has had more than one previous season in which he has made big plays, led the team in sacks and changed the momentum of multiple games. He has done so again this season.
On Tuesday, he learned there is one difference between this season and seasons past.
This season, his performance earned him a trip to Hawaii.
Mathis, a fifth-round selection in the 2003 NFL Draft, on Tuesday was selected to play in the Pro Bowl for the first time. He was one of four Colts players selected to the game, and only the one of the foursome to be named to the game for the first time.
Quarterback Peyton Manning, named to the game for the ninth time and the seventh year in succession, was named as a starter, as was defensive end Dwight Freeney. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne, a starter in last season's game, was named as a reserve.
The Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, February 8, at Aloha Stadium Honolulu, Hawaii. The NFL made the announcement on the NFL Network at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Mathis, second on the Colts' all-time sacks list, leads the Colts in sacks this season with 11.5 for minus-66.5 yards. He also has 17 quarterback pressures, and has forced five fumbles with three recoveries.
He has 6.5 sacks in the last two games, and three weeks ago, his fourth-quarter fumble recovery for a touchdown provided the game-winning points in a 10-6 victory over the Browns.
Freeney, the team's all-time sacks leader, made the Pro Bowl for the fourth time, the first since he made it three consecutive seasons from 2003-2005. He also made it after missing the last seven games of last season with a foot injury.
Freeney has 9.5 sacks for minus-69.5 yards, and he leads the Colts with 27 pressures. He also has forced four fumbles and has 6.5 sacks in the last six games.
It's the first time two Colts ends have made the Pro Bowl in the same season since 1977, when Mike Barnes and John Dutton each made it for the Baltimore Colts.
Manning, a Pro Bowl selection in 1999-2000 and from 2002-2008, made the game during a season after which he missed training camp and preseason following offseason knee surgery. He has led the Colts to victories in their last seven games, and to within one victory of a seventh consecutive postseason appearance.
Manning, the Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player in 2003 and 2004, has completed 335 of 514 passes for 3,543 yards and 23 touchdowns with 12 interceptions for a passer rating of 90.3.
Wayne, who this season registered his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season, made the game for a third consecutive season. He has 74 receptions for 1,022 yards and five touchdowns.
Also on Tuesday, the Colts released their second injury reof the week, with middle linebacker Gary Brackett (fibula), Freeney (foot), running back Chad Simpson (ankle) and wide receiver Marvin Harrison (knee) listed as not participating in practice.
Running back Joseph Addai (shoulder), safety Antoine Bethea (ankle), tight end Dallas Clark (hip), linebacker Tyjuan Hagler (knee), offensive tackle Charlie Johnson (shin), linebacker Freddy Keiaho (shoulder), safety Bob Sanders (knee), center Jeff Saturday (calf) and offensive tackle Tony Ugoh (knee) were listed as practicing full.
Dungy said Tuesday Addai and Sanders likely will play after missing this past Sunday's game against Detroit.