Bears offensive linemen Charles Leno, Cody Whitehair added to NFC Pro Bowl team
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Bears left tackle Charles Leno and center Cody Whitehair were added to the NFC Pro Bowl roster Tuesday, giving the Bears eight players with Pro Bowl recognition — the most since they had eight in 2006.
Leno, a seventh-round draft pick in 2014 (246th overall), started all 16 games and played all but eight offensive snaps in 2018 as the Bears’ offense finished 11th in the NFL in offensive points scored (23.5 points per game). He was called for six penalties, including just one holding call — a big improvement from 2017, when he was called for 13 penalties, including five holding calls and six false starts. Three of Leno’s five false starts this season were in the same game — at Buffalo in Week 10, a 41-9 rout.
Whitehair, a second-round draft pick in 2016 (56th overall), started every game and played every offensive snap in 2018 and was all-around solid. He was stellar against the Rams on Dec. 9, as the Bears contained both Defensive Player of the Year favorite Aaron Donald (two tackles, one quarterback hit) and Ndamukong Suh (six tackles, no impact plays) in a 15-6 victory at Soldier Field.
Leno and Whitehair are the first lineman drafted by the team to make the Pro Bowl since Kyle Long in 2013-2015, and only the second since center Olin Kreutz made his sixth appearance in 2006.
Leno and Whitehair join six teammates with Pro Bowl recognition. Outside linebacker Khalil Mack, cornerback Kyle Fuller, defensive end Akiem Hicks, free safety Eddie Jackson and kick returner Tarik Cohen were selected originally. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky was added as a replacement for Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who is playing in the Super Bowl. Mack will not play in the game because of a knee injury.
The Bears had just five Pro Bowl representatives in the previous four seasons. They last had eight players named to the Pro Bowl in 2006 — Kreutz, linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, defensive tackle Tommie Harris, kick returner Devin Hester, kicker Robbie Gould, guard Ruben Brown and special-teams player Brendon Ayanbadejo.