They finally got one.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 11, 2017
Chicago Bears rookie running back Jordan Howard has been added to the NFC’s Pro Bowl roster, replacing injured running back David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals. Howard becomes the first Bears rookie running back to be sent to the Pro Bowl since Gale Sayers in 1965.
That is elite company.
Howard finished second in the NFL in rushing yards (1,313) despite finishing outside the top-10 (11th overall) with 252 total rushing attempts. Only Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott – a fellow rookie – had more rushing yards than Howard did in 2016. Still, Howard barely out-gained Elliott on a per-carry basis, averaging 5.2 yards per rush compared to Elliott’s 5.1.
The Bears were originally shut out of the Pro Bowl when rosters were initially announced in December.
The Indiana University product was the Bears’ most potent offensive contributor after starting the season in a reserve role behind second-year running back Jeremy Langford, whose injury in the Bears’ loss to the Cowboys opened the door for Howard to make a name for himself.
Howard is in good company with regard to recent Bears Pro Bowl selections. He became the first Bears rookie to make a Pro Bowl since offensive lineman Kyle Long did it in 2013 and the first Bears running back to do so since Matt Forte, who joined Long on the 2013 Pro Bowl squad.
The 2017 Pro Bowl will take place on Sunday, Jan. 29 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando – marking the first time the game wasn’t played in Hawaii or the city hosting that year’s Super Bowl. This year’s edition marks the return to the traditional format pitting the AFC’s best against the top stars of the NFC.
And it allows Howard yet another opportunity to provide highlights in what was a dreadful Bears season.