In a sign of how far the Houston Texans have come as an organization, they have four representatives on the AFC roster in the 2012 Pro Bowl despite the absence of perennial Pro Bowlers Mario Williams and Andre Johnson, who missed most of the 2011 season due to injury.
It's the second highest number in franchise history, behind the five they had in 2010. None of those five -- Williams, Johnson, QB Matt Schaub, LB's DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing -- made the team in 2012 despite still being on the Texans roster, an indication of how much talent Houston has when healthy.
Instead, three first-time Pro Bowlers, CB Johnathan Joseph, DE Antonio Smith and C Chris Myers, as well as RB Arian Foster, making his second straight appearance, will be representing the Texans in Hawaii.
Joseph, a lock-down corner instrumental in Houston's defensive resurgence under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, had 44 tackles and 4 INT's this season.
Smith, an eighth-year veteran out of Oklahoma State, helped fill the void caused by Williams' absence, recording 25 tackles and 6.5 sacks this year.
Myers was one of the key figures who helped pave holes for Foster, who ran for 1,224 yards and 10 TD's on 4.4 yards per carry despite defenses stacking the line of scrimmage with Schaub and Johnson out.
The Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday Jan. 29 and broadcast nationally on NBC at 6:00 PM.
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