The dismal year of the Bears’ defense has not prevented one member of that beleaguered unit from making an appearance in the Pro Bowl.
Cornerback Tim Jennings, re-signed to a four-year contract at season’s end, will play in his second consecutive Pro Bowl, filling in for Seattle Seahawks standout Richard Sherman, whose calendar was adjusted to include the Super Bowl after the Seahawks’ win Sunday over San Francisco.
Jennings becomes the fourth Bear on the rosters for the all-star game, joining running back Matt Forte and receiver Brandon Marshall, plus alternate Alshon Jeffery who replaces the injured Detroit Lions wideout Calvin Johnson.
That number could jump to five. Rookie guard Kyle Long also was voted as an alternate, but has not been tabbed as a replacement. However, San Francisco 49ers guard Mike Iupati had to be helped off the field with a broken left ankle during Sunday’s game and is not expected to be available for the Pro Bowl.
Jennings led the Bears with four interceptions this season, three forced fumbles (tied for the team lead) and one opponent fumble recovery. He returned two of his four interceptions for touchdowns.
His eight combined interceptions, forced fumbles and opponent fumble recoveries in 2013 were tied for fourth most in the NFL and tied for the most among cornerbacks. Jennings’ 13 interceptions over the last two seasons (both Pro Bowl selections) are second most in the NFL to Sherman’s 16.