October 24, 2014

Medina
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Browns’ Joe Thomas, Alex Mack get Pro Bowl nods

BEREA — The Browns haven’t played in nearly a month, but their offensive line had a good day Monday.

Left tackle Joe Thomas was named to The Associated Press All-Pro first team for the second straight season. Center Alex Mack was added to the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster as an injury replacement.

Miami’s Jake Long joined Thomas as the other tackle on the All-Pro first team, which encompasses the entire NFL.

Some observers suggested Thomas had a down year in his fourth season with the Browns. He had a difficult day against Atlanta All-Pro defensive end John Abraham, allowing multiple pressures and the hit that knocked out quarterback Seneca Wallace with a high ankle sprain. Thomas also allowed the hit that sprained quarterback Jake Delhomme’s ankle in the opener.

But Thomas was good enough to earn the votes from the media for the All-Pro team. Opposing coaches and players voted him into his fourth straight Pro Bowl as a starter. And Thomas continually insisted he was having a good year and had improved from seasons past.

“I think you have got to bring your ‘A’ game every single week because you have got a target on your back from the first time you go,” he said in December. “It gets even bigger the more times you go to the Pro Bowl because they want to make a name for themselves, they want to beat a guy that’s been to the Pro Bowl so they can put that on their resume.”

Mack was added to the team after New York’s Nick Mangold was injured Sunday in the Jets’ loss to the Steelers in the AFC championship game. Indianapolis’ Jeff Saturday replaced Pittsburgh’s Maurkice Pouncey, who’s headed to the Super Bowl.

“I’m very excited to be able to go to Hawaii,” said Mack, who tweeted he was headed to the airport. “It’s unfortunate that Nick had to get injured for me to go, but I’m looking forward to representing the Browns. It has been a lifelong dream for me and from here on, it’s working to make many more. I’m excited to be going and I can’t wait to play in this game.”

Mack was disappointed when he wasn’t originally voted to the Pro Bowl, which is Sunday in Hawaii. He said the chance to go as an alternate wouldn’t be the same.

“I’d want to get voted in,” he said in December. “That’s the goal down the road. I know I had a good season. I think I played a lot of good teams real tough.”

Mack hasn’t missed an offensive snap since joining the Browns as the 21st pick in 2009. He’s the sixth Browns center to make the Pro Bowl, the first since Tom DeLeone in 1981. Thomas hasn’t missed a snap in his four years.

For the first time since the 1981 Pro Bowl, the Browns will have at least two offensive linemen. Guard Joe DeLamielleure, DeLeone and tackle Doug Dieken represented the Browns that year.

In other Browns news, nfl.com reported the Redskins denied Cleveland permission to interview special teams coach Danny Smith. Brad Seely, Cleveland’s special teams coach the last two years, took the same position with the 49ers last week.

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com.