Broncos have league-high 9 Pro Bowl selections

Published 1:30 am Friday, December 26, 2014

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — First-timer Chris Harris Jr. is among the Denver Broncos’ league-leading nine Pro Bowlers, including Peyton Manning, whose 14th selection is tied for the most ever among NFL players.

“Oh man, that’s what happens when you win games,” Harris said. “And we’re able to win a lot of games and have a lot of impactful players. I mean, it’s just awesome. It’s just a great honor to be in that nine.”

Harris, who recently signed a five-year, $42.5 million contract extension, is the sixth undrafted cornerback to make a Pro Bowl with his original team and the first since Dallas’ Everson Walls in 1981.

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It’s been a remarkable rise for Harris, a third-year player out of Kansas who originally signed a $2,000 bonus in Denver and bounced back from a torn ACL in last year’s playoffs.

“This year has been a phenomenal year, I had my daughter, making the Pro Bowl and signing my contract,” Harris said. “The Super Bowl is the only thing I’m missing. That’s the only thing I’m worried about, the only goal and that’s the only thing I’m chasing right now.”

Harris, who didn’t even finish in the top-10 cornerbacks in fan balloting, ranks second in the NFL with a 47.3 passer rating against him, according to Pro Football Focus.

“It’s definitely a special feeling getting into the Pro Bowl. I put in so much work this offseason,” Harris said. “I’m just glad I’m getting the fruits of my labor.”

Manning extended his QB record with his 14th selection, tying center Bruce Matthews and tight end Tony Gonzalez for the most in NFL history. The five-time NFL MVP has thrown for 4,454 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Other Denver defenders honored Tuesday are: linebacker Von Miller, cornerback Aqib Talib, safety T.J. Ward and defensive end DeMarcus Ware.

Talib, Ward and Ware were free agent additions in the offseason. Like Harris, Miller returned from a torn ACL that sidelined him for the Super Bowl.

Manning was joined by left tackle Ryan Clady, receiver Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas. Clady missed most of last season with a foot injury.

The nine selections tie for the second-most in franchise history behind the 10 selected in 1998. Seven of the nine were either signed or drafted by GM John Elway.

Receiver Emmanuel Sanders was selected a second alternate after posting career highs with 95 receptions for 1,331 yards and nine TDs with one game remaining. The last time a receiver with those kinds of stats failed to make the Pro Bowl was in 1995 when Robert Brooks, Isaac Bruce and Brett Perriman all were snubbed.

Running back C.J. Anderson, who emerged as Denver’s primary ball carrier at midseason, was a sixth alternate.

Harris said he couldn’t believe nose tackle Terrance Knighton wasn’t named to the Pro Bowl. He’s the leader of a defense that ranks second in the league against the run.