The Tennessee Titans do not typically send a lot of players to the Pro Bowl, although their numbers have been up in recent seasons.
Over the years, they have managed to send a lot of defensive ends. This year turned out to be no different.
Defensive end Jason Babin was one of just two Titans selected to participate in the NFL’s annual all-star game, the rosters for which were announced Tuesday. Also named was rookie return man Marc Mariani.
The two selections are the fewest since 2006, when quarterback Vince Young was the franchise’s lone representative. That capped a six-year stretch starting in 2001 during which the team earned more than two invitations only once.
Babin became the fourth different Tennessee defensive end since 1999 to earn a Pro Bowl invitation. Those players combined for eight total appearances in 12 years, led by Jevon Kearse and Kyle Vanden Bosch, who went three times each.
With one game remaining in the regular season, Babin is the AFC leader in sacks by a defensive end. His career-high 12.5 is tied for third overall in the NFL and already ranks among the top 10 single-season totals in franchise history.
It is the first Pro Bowl honor for the seventh-year veteran, who entered the league as a first-round draft pick of the Houston Texans.
Mariani became the fourth rookie since the franchise’s relocation in 1997 to earn a Pro Bowl invitation.
The seventh-round draft pick out of Montana is the only player in the league with a punt return and a kickoff return for a touchdown this season. He took back a kickoff 98 yards against Denver on Oct. 3 and scored on an 87-yard punt return Nov. 21 against Washington.
Mariani currently ranks among the leagues top 10 in both punt and kickoff return average. His 12.9 yards per punt return are best in the AFC.
Tennessee had four players — Young, Vanden Bosch, running back Chris Johnson and center Kevin Mawae — selected last season.
Vanden Bosch is now with Detroit, Mawae is retired and Young is on injured reserve following thumb surgery. Johnson currently ranks third in the NFL with 1,325 rushing yards but for the first time in his three-year career is not headed to the Pro Bowl, which will take place Jan. 30 in Honolulu.