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Montez Sweat, Jaylon Johnson selected to Pro Bowl Games

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Defensive end Montez Sweat and cornerback Jaylon Johnson have been voted to represent the Bears on the NFC team at the Pro Bowl Games.

Sweat enters Week 18 third in the NFC with a career-high 12.5 sacks. Acquired by the Bears in a trade with the Commanders Oct. 31, the fifth-year pro leads both teams in sacks and would be the first player in league history to accomplish that feat.

After registering 6.5 sacks in eight games with Washington, Sweat has compiled 6.0 sacks in eight contests with the Bears.

"I am honored to be selected to my first Pro Bowl and to represent the great city of Chicago," Sweat said. "What makes this honor special is that the fans played a role in me being selected. I am truly grateful for my teammates, coaches, support staff and my family for all the support this season. I wouldn't be here without them."

Sweat's arrival in Chicago has fueled a defensive resurgence that has helped the Bears win five of their last seven games. The unit enters Week 18 leading the NFL in both interceptions with 22 and run defense, yielding an average of just 84.0 yards per game.

Asked which individual on defense has benefitted most from playing with Sweat, coach Matt Eberflus said: "I would say the Chicago Bears as a whole have benefitted from having 'Tez on our football team. He creates a pressure player from the front, and when you have that, you're able to play coverage.

"Then, you can vary your coverages," Eberflus added. "You can make them look different and disguise them. I think that's very hard on the quarterback. So when you have that pressure player from the front, and you're not bringing it from the second level, that helps out any defense. Certainly, 'Tez has been wonderful to have. He's helped out the whole organization."

Johnson has started all 14 games he's played this season. The fourth-year pro is tied for the team lead with a career-high four interceptions, one of which he returned 39 yards for a touchdown, and also has recorded 36 tackles and 10 pass breakups.

"It is special that God has blessed me with the opportunity and favor to be selected to my first Pro Bowl," Johnson said. "I'm thankful for all of those who have played a role in my success because when I win, we all win."

Johnson, who was selected by the Bears in the second round of the 2020 out of Utah, has excelled against the pass and the run this season.

"He's done a really good job," said cornerbacks coach/passing game coordinator Jon Hoke. "He's playing at a high level. He really made a concentrated effort to take the ball. Just the time and effort he put into it out on the practice field doing extra … everybody would go in and he was still out there catching and working on catch angles and those type of things. The amount of tape he watches really is pretty incredible because he can tell you route combinations and things just through film study. And then the physical part, he's been really consistent in doing it. I think he really did a good job of going out there and making himself a complete player."

For the second straight year, no actual Pro Bowl game will be played. Instead, the league will conduct NFC versus AFC skill competitions over multiple days in Orlando culminating in a flag football game at Camping World Stadium Sunday, Feb. 4.

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