Former Longhorns Johnson and Thomas star in Pro Bowl
Jan. 27, 2013
HONOLULU, Hi. -- For the second straight year, former Texas Longhorns linebacker Derrick Johnson scored a touchdown on an interception return in the Pro Bowl. Former Longhorns safety Earl Thomas also had an interception in the game as his NFC team defeated Johnson's AFC team, 62-35. Johnson and Thomas were joined in Honolulu for the annual NFL all-star game by fellow former Longhorns running back Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton and Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson.
It was the second consecutive Pro Bowl for Johnson and Thomas and the second overall for Charles after his first appearance in the 2011 game. Melton and Dawson were both making their first Pro Bowl appearances.
Johnson, a Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, intercepted New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and took the ball 42 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Johnson read Manning's eyes, jumped up to snag the ball intended for the tight end, spun around and then went in untouched for the score. The play helped put the AFC up, 14-10, with 11:14 left to play in the half. In last year's game, Johnson took a lateral from San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle and rumbled 58 yards to complete an 87-yard interception return for a touchdown in the AFC's 59-41 victory.
In this year's game, Johnson recorded six solo tackles, one interception for a touchdown and one pass defensed.
Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas started for the NFC squad and intercepted the Houston Texans' Matt Schaub to thwart the AFC's first drive of the second half. The NFC scored three plays later to take a 38-17 lead at 12:56 of the third quarter.
Thomas tallied two tackles (one solo), one interception and one pass defensed. He also was part of a punt return when Seahawks teammate Leon Washington fielded a punt in the second quarter and lateraled to Thomas, but Thomas was not able to gain any yards.
Charles carried the ball only three times as the AFC elected the throw the ball extensively as they were behind most of the game. It was Charles' second Pro Bowl in three years. In the 2011 game, Charles scored one touchdown and carried the ball 10 times for 72 yards, including a game-high run of 32 yards to lead all AFC running backs.
Texas’ five Pro Bowl selections this year are the fourth most of any college program nationally and the most among Big 12 programs. Georgia, Miami and Tennessee each has six players participating in the Pro Bowl, while Cal also had five selections.
Texas has now had 40 different Pro Bowlers representing 22 different teams for a total of 94 appearances.
Texas extends its streak of consecutive years with at least one Pro Bowl player to 12, which is a school record. There have only been 11 years in Texas history without at least one.