Greensboro, this is your Pro Bowl.
Three skill-position stars whose games were shaped in the Gate City – the Chargers' Keenan Allen, Bears' Tarik Cohen and Colts' Eric Ebron – were selected to play in the National Football League's all-star game Jan. 27, 2019, at Orlando's Camping World Stadium.
The Chargers and Bears have clinched playoff berths and the Colts are in contention in the AFC. Of course, no player wants to play in the Pro Bowl given that Super Bowl LII will be played the next weekend, on Feb. 3 in Atlanta.
Nevertheless, our all-stars:
Team: Los Angeles Chargers, AFC.
Position: Wide receiver.
Greensboro connection: Northern Guilford High School graduate; also attended Grimsley. ... 2009 News & Record football player of the year. ... Played collegiately at California.
Pro Bowl selections: Second.
Why he was chosen: 88 catches (fifth in AFC) for 1,074 yards (sixth in AFC), six touchdowns. ... Has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season and third time in his career. ... Suffered a hip pointers vs. the Chiefs on Thursday night but might play Saturday vs. Ravens (8:20 p.m., NFL).
What he's saying: "I'm in." – @Keenan13Allen on Twitter.
Team: Chicago Bears, NFC.
Position: Return specialist.
Greensboro connection: A&T alumnus; career leader in rushing yards (5,619) and rushing touchdowns (56) at school and in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Pro Bowl selections: First.
Why he was chosen: Leads the NFL with 413 punt return yards. ... Second player in NFL history to compile at least 500 yards via rushing, receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns in his first 25 games. ... Leads the Bears with 710 receiving yards on 68 catches; has rushed for 405 yards on 88 attempts (4.6 yards per carry).
What he's saying: "I’m tremendously honored. I’d like to share this achievement with everyone on my punt return group and also my special-teams coaches.” – Cohen to ChicagoBears.com.
Team: Indianapolis Colts, AFC.
Position: Tight end.
Greensboro connection: Smith High School graduate. Played collegiately at North Carolina.
Pro Bowl selections: First.
Why he was chosen: Career-best 12 touchdown catches, second-most in the NFL among all positions. ... 59 catches, 662 yards. ... Has played in all 14 games with seven starts. ... Has one rushing TD. ... Among NFL tight ends, ranks first in receiving touchdowns, sixth in receptions and fifth in receiving yards.
What they're saying: “He is working really, really, really hard. He’s certainly got some God-given gifts that not many other people have. He’s making the most out of it. He can run – he runs really, really good routes. I think he understands defenses really well." – Andrew Luck, Colts quarterback, to Colts.com.
Quarterbacks: Tom Brady, New England; x-Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City; Philip Rivers, L.A. Chargers
Tight ends: Eric Ebron, Indianapolis; x-Travis Kelce, Kansas City
Wide Receivers: Keenan Allen, L.A. Chargers ; Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh; x-Tyreek Hill, Kansas City: x-DeAndre Hopkins, Houston.
Tackles: Eric Fisher, Kansas City; x-Taylor Lewan, Tennessee; x-Alejandro Villanueva, Pittsburgh
Guards: x-David DeCastro, Pittsburgh; Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis; x-Marshal Yanda, Baltimore
Running Backs: x-James Conner, Pittsburgh, Melvin Gordon, L.A. Chargers; Phillip Lindsay, Denver.
Centers: x-Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh; Mike Pouncey, L.A. Chargers
Defensive Ends: x-Myles Garrett, Cleveland; Melvin Ingram, L.A. Chargers; x-J.J. Watt, Houston
Inside/Middle Linebackers: Benardrick McKinney, Houston; x-C.J. Mosley, Baltimore
Interior Lineman: x-Geno Atkins, Cincinnati; x-Jurrell Casey; Tennessee; Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh
Cornerbacks: Stephon Gilmore, New England; x-Xavien Howard, Miami; x-Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville; Denzel Ward, Cleveland
Outside Linebackers: x-Jadeveon Clowney, Houston; Dee Ford, Kansas City; x-Von Miller, Denver
Free Safeties: X-Derwin James, L.A. Chargers; Eric Weddle, Baltimore
Strong Safety: x-Jamal Adams, N.Y. Jets
Punter: x-Brett Kern, Tennessee
Placekicker: x-Jason Myers, N.Y. Jets
Return Specialist: x-Andre Roberts, N.Y. Jets
Special Teamer: x-Adrian Phillips, L.A. Chargers
Quarterbacks: x-Drew Brees, New Orleans; Jared Goff, L.A. Rams; Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Tight Ends: x-Zach Ertz, Philadelphia; George Kittle, San Francisco
Wide Receivers: Davante Adams, Green Bay; x-Julio Jones, Atlanta; Adam Thielen, Minnesota; x-Michael Thomas, New Orleans
Tackles: x-Terron Armstead, New Orleans; x-Tyron Smith, Dallas; Trent Williams, Washington
Guards: x-Brandon Brooks, Philadelphia; x-Zack Martin, Dallas; Trai Turner, Carolina
Running Backs: Saquon Barkley, N.Y. Giants; Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas; x-Todd Gurley, L.A. Rams
Centers: x-Alex Mack, Atlanta; Max Under; New Orleans
Fullback: x-Kyle Juszczyk, San Francisco
Defensive Ends: Danielle Hunter, Minnesota; x-Cameron Jordan, New Orleans; x-Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas
Inside/Middle Linebackers: x-Luke Kuechly, Carolina; Bobby Wagner, Seattle
Interior Lineman: x-Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia; x-Aaron Donald, L.A. Rams; Akiem Hicks, Chicago
Cornerbacks: x-Kyle Fuller, Chicago; Byron Jones, Dallas; x-Patrick Peterson, Arizona; Darius Slay, Detroit
Outside Linebackers: Anthony Barr, Minnesota; x-Ryan Kerrigan, Washington; x-Khalil Mack, Chicago
Free Safeties: x-Eddie Jackson, Chicago; Harrison Smith, Minnesota
Strong Safety: Landon Collins, N.Y. Giants
Punter: x-Michael Dickson, Seattle
Placekicker: x-Aldrick Rosas, N.Y. Giants
Return Specialist: x-Tarik Cohen, Chicago
Special Teamer: x-Cory Littleton, L.A. Rams