The first person Ravens outside linebacker Matthew Judon called when he found out he had been named to his first Pro Bowl was his wife, Breighann.
“Our spouses go through this game with us,” said Judon, who leads the team with 8½ sacks. “Y’all obviously know how long and brutal and time-demanding that this season, the NFL, is on us. She’s pregnant right now, so she’s going through it double. That was the first call. It was pretty special. She cried for the both of us.”
Throughout a franchise-record 10 game-winning streak and holding the league’s best record, the Ravens have preached a team-first mantra, making sure to not single out one player’s successes or failures.
But Tuesday night’s Pro Bowl team announcements, and the Ravens leading the league with 12 players, provided the rare opportunity for players to be lauded for their individual achievements this season.
“We’re very proud of it,” coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. “I talked to the guys about it yesterday. All these individual awards in the ultimate team sport, it really is a team honor. I know our guys feel that way about it. I feel that way about it. You take pride in it as a coach, and I know the teammates take pride in it because it’s football and everybody works together.”
For young players such as tight end Mark Andrews, cornerback Marlon Humphrey and offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, the recognition was the first of their budding careers.
For veterans such as guard Marshal Yanda and safety Earl Thomas III, it’s another accolade to what has been a Hall of Fame-worthy resume.
Second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson, who was voted a starter and led the league in fan votes, called the nod a “huge accomplishment” but a “team award at the end of the day.”
“You can’t get individualized with the team working so hard, and we’re having so much success,” Jackson said. “We had a great group [and] number of guys in the Pro Bowl. It’s amazing.”
>> The Ravens placed offensive lineman Marcus Applefield on injured reserve with a back injury and signed wide receiver Sean Modster to the practice squad, Harbaugh announced.