When Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky steps into the huddle during Pro Bowl practices this week in Orlando, he’ll see a couple of familiar faces.
Center Cody Whitehair and left tackle Charles Leno Jr. on Tuesday were added to the NFC roster, replacing Saints teammates Max Unger and Terron Armstead, respectively.
The Bears now have eight players in the Pro Bowl, their most since they also sent eight in 2006, the year they reached the Super Bowl. Joining Trubisky, Whitehair and Leno are outside linebacker Khalil Mack, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, safety Eddie Jackson, cornerback Kyle Fuller and return specialist Tarik Cohen.
On Monday, Trubisky was named to the NFC roster in place of Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who is preparing to play in the Super Bowl.
Mack, who was voted to the Pro Bowl for the fourth straight season, will not play in the game due to a knee injury he sustained in the wild-card loss to the Eagles. The other seven Bears are all making their first trips to the Pro Bowl.
Since the Bears chose Whitehair in the second round of the 2016 draft out of Kansas State, he has started all 16 games at center in each of his three seasons. In 2018, he was the only Bears player on offense or defense to play every single snap.
In 2016, Whitehair was named to the Pro Football Writers of America all-rookie team. He is the first Bears center to be selected to the Pro Bowl since Olin Kreutz made six straight appearances from 2001-06.
Leno has appeared in 70 games with 62 starts since being selected by the Bears in the seventh round of the 2014 draft out of Boise State. Since joining the No. 1 offense in Week 4 of the 2015 season, Leno has not missed a game, making 61 straight starts.
Whitehair and Leno were part of an offensive line that helped the Bears win the NFC North title with a 12-4 record in 2018. The Bears scored at least 24 points in 11 games, their most since 1995 when they also produced 24 or more points in 11 contests. The offense only allowed 33 sacks, tied for the eighth fewest in the NFL, and ranked 11th in rushing at 121.1 yards per game.
The last time the Bears had two offensive linemen selected to the Pro Bowl was in 2006 when Kreutz and guard Ruben Brown were chosen.
The Pro Bowl will kick off at 2 p.m. (CT) Sunday at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
The NFL has announced the initial rosters for the 2018-2019 Pro Bowl in Orlando, FL. Five players will represent the Bears with seven of their teammates selected as alternates for the league’s annual all-star game.