The Ravens, who are hoping to make an impact in late January and beyond, can reassure themselves that at least four of their players will play next month.
Fullback Kyle Juszczyk, kicker Justin Tucker, linebacker C.J. Mosley and left guard Marshal Yanda were named to the Pro Bowl to be played on Jan. 29 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., the NFL announced Tuesday night. The Ravens put at least four players on the Pro Bowl roster for the 11th consecutive year.
Four other Ravens — tight end Dennis Pitta, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, safety Eric Weddle and nose tackle Brandon Williams — were named second alternates. They could play if others are unable to attend because of injury or their teams are playing in the Super Bowl.
Yanda, 32, tied Suggs for the franchise lead among current players in Pro Bowl selections with his sixth invitation — all of which have occurred in his past six seasons. He trails only former left tackle Jonathan Ogden’s 11 Pro Bowl nominations among Ravens offensive linemen.
The 6-foot-3, 305-pound anchor of the offensive line has demonstrated his versatility, starting six games at his usual position of right guard before moving to left guard and making five straight starts there because rookie Alex Lewis suffered a high right ankle sprain last month.
Yanda also has personified the definition of grit, sitting out three games because of a painful left shoulder injury.
"I am very honored to be voted into the Pro Bowl," Yanda said in a statement. "I want to thank my teammates and coaches for all the hard work we put in together. Football is the ultimate team sport, and simply put, you don't do anything in this league on your own."
Tucker makes his way to the Pro Bowl for the second time and first since 2013. He has arguably been the most dangerous weapon for the Ravens, who can capture their first AFC North title since 2012 and a berth in the playoffs by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers on Christmas Day and the Cincinnati Bengals a week later.
The 27-year-old kicker leads the NFL in field goals made with 33 (on 34 attempts), tied the league record for most field goals of 50-plus yards in a single season with 10 and overtook the Dallas Cowboys' Dan Bailey as the most accurate kicker in NFL history with a career success rate of 89.6 (163-for-182). With a pair of misses Sunday night, Bailey slid to second at 89.4 percent.
"I feel incredibly humbled and honored to be selected to my second Pro Bowl and to have the opportunity to represent the Baltimore Ravens in Orlando," Tucker stated. "Thank you to the players and coaches across the league for their votes, and an especially big 'thank you' goes out to the fans for making this all possible.
"I am very fortunate to work directly with true professionals on a daily basis. Morgan Cox is the best long snapper in football, and Sam Koch is the best punter and holder in football. We believe in working hard, we believe in each other, and we care deeply about becoming the best football players we can be. We have excellent coaches in Jerry Rosburg and Randy Brown, supporting us in all that we do, and I couldn't be more grateful to work with such great people. They bring out the best in me every single day."
Mosley, 24, collected his second Pro Bowl honor in three years. The 6-2, 241-pound linebacker ranks third on the defense with 72 tackles, is tied for the league lead in interceptions among linebackers with three and has posted seven pass breakups and one forced fumble.
"It's an honor and blessing to be voted into the Pro Bowl by our great fans, coaches and peers in the league," Mosley said in the statement. "I am extremely thankful for my teammates and coaches, and that I have an opportunity to once again represent the Baltimore Ravens."
Juszczyk, 25, earned his first Pro Bowl invite since being chosen by the Ravens in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. The 6-1, 240-pound fullback leads all players at his position in receptions (33) and yards (255). He accomplished the same feat last season, when he had 41 catches for 321 yards and four touchdowns.
"It's an honor to be recognized by my peers, coaches and fans as the AFC representative at fullback," Juszczyk said. "So much credit goes to the talented backs running behind me, the dominant offensive line in front of me, and a skillful quarterback throwing me the ball."
The 88 players who make up the Pro Bowl rosters were selected in voting by fans, players and coaches. Each group counted for one-third of the vote.
This year's Pro Bowl will return to the traditional AFC vs. NFC format. The previous three Pro Bowls had players selected regardless of their conferences, and teams were composed of players picked by retired Hall of Famers.
The league has also included a game of dodgeball as one of the events in a "Skills Showdown" that will take place on Jan. 26. Other competitions include a timed relay race, a precision passing exercise and a "best hands" drill in which quarterback-wide receiver duos from each side will attempt to complete as many catches in a certain amount of time.