Saturday December 28, 2013Former Gators Joe Haden and Mike Pouncey Selected To NFL Pro Bowl
Former University of Florida standouts Joe Haden (Cleveland Browns) and Mike Pouncey (Miami Dolphins) were each selected to the 2014 Pro Bowl roster, the NFL announced on Friday. It was the first time that either player had earned the accolade and marked the fifth year in a row that a Gator had been chosen to participate in the NFL’s annual all-star game that will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu on Jan. 26.
Haden and Pouncey continue a strong Gator legacy in the Pro Bowl, as 22 Gators have now earned 60 appearances in the 44-year history of the event. Since the inaugural Pro Bowl in 1970, a Gator has represented either the AFC or NFC in 37 of the 44 years. Since the 1990 season, UF has seen a player don a Pro Bowl jersey in all but three seasons.
A member of the Orange and Blue from 2007-09, Haden was named the 2009 Defensive MVP of the Year by the Sporting News, when he was a consensus All-American. A first-team selection by the Associated Press, AFCA, FWAA, Sporting News, Walter Camp, CBSSports.com, Phil Steele, CollegeFootballNews.com and Pro Football Weekly, he was also a first-team All-SEC choice by the Coaches, AP, Sporting News and Phil Steele. Haden became the first true freshman to start at cornerback for Florida on opening day in 2007, starting in all 40 games he played in for the Gators.
Haden anchored a UF defense which led the conference in pass defense (152.8 yards/game) during his junior season. He finished his Gator career with 218 total tackles, 34 pass breakups, eight interceptions and 3.5 sacks. Haden entered the 2010 NFL Draft as a junior and was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the seventh overall pick. As a rookie for the Browns, he had 57 solo tackles and six interceptions and was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month in November.
This season, Haden is tied for the Browns’ team lead with four interceptions, highlighted by a 29-yard return for a score against the Cincinnati Bengals. Entering the final contest of the regular season, he has 54 tackles, 43 of which are solo. Haden has defended 67 passes in 57 career games, an average of 1.18 per game since the 2010 season. That is the second-highest average of any NFL player with at least 50 career pass breakups since the start of the 1994 season.
Selected with the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, Pouncey saw action in 54 games at Florida, including 45 starts as a Gator. A 2010 AP All-SEC Second-Team Selection, he was a 2009 AP Second-Team All-American, was named to the 2009 Pro Football Weekly All-America Team and was an AP First-Team All-SEC pick. In 2008, he was a second-team All-SEC selection by vote of the league’s head coaches, an AP All-SEC Honorable Mention selection and a CollegeFootballNews.com All-Sophomore Selection.
Pouncey became the first Dolphins’ center to earn the Pro Bowl honor since Tim Ruddy following the 2000 season and just the fourth overall, joining Hall-of-Famers Dwight Stephenson (1983-87) and Jim Langer (1973-78). His twin brother, Maurkice Pouncey, earned three straight Pro Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2010-12.