Chicago Bears fans have spoken and they have voted defensive end Julius Peppers, linebacker Brian Urlacher and return specialist Devin Hester as the top players at their positions for the NFC North Pro Bowl team.
The trio of players all bring an interesting story to the table in a 2010 season that has exceeded expectations.
The new Bear
In his first season as a Bear, Peppers is tied for a team-leading eight sacks, two interceptions, five tackles-for-loss and three forced fumbles.
Peppers signed in March, a six-year contract for $91.5 million, with $42 million guaranteed in the first three years. He was the second pick in the 2002 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. Peppers has had a remarkable career, leading all defensive linemen with eight interceptions; he ranks third among all players with 89 sacks.
Peppers has been selected to the Pro Bowl five times (2004-2006 and 2008-2009 seasons).
The seasoned Bear
Urlacher missed a majority of the 2009 season with a wrist injury but has returned this season better than ever with a team-leading 126 tackles, 11 tackles-for-loss, 11 pass breakups, three fumble recoveries, 3½ sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles.
Urlacher has been selected to the Pro Bowl six times (2000-2003 and 2005-2006 seasons).
The NFL record-holding Bear
In Monday night’s game against the Vikings, Hester set an all-time NFL record by returning his 14th kick return touchdown after he brought back a punt 64 yards. From this touchdown, as well as his 79-yard kickoff return that many thought would be the No. 14 touchdown, Hester was selected NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Hester now leads the NFL in punt returns with a career-high 16.4-yard average and three touchdowns. He has been selected to the Pro Bowl twice before (2006 and 2007 seasons).
Players and coaches are voting on Wednesday and Thursday. Teams will be announced on Dec. 28 and the Bowl will be played Jan. 30, 2011 in Hawaii.
About the Author
Written by Debbie Baratz