New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma has been named to the NFC's Pro Bowl squad, it was announced by the Saints and the National Football League. Vilma, who last week was named as the Saints' "Man of the Year" for his contributions both on-and-off-the-field, has been honored with selections to the Pro Bowl twice before (2005: NY Jets) and 2009 (Saints).
The 6-1, 230 pound native of Coral Gables, Fla. is in his seventh season in the NFL and his third season with the Saints. This season Vilma, one of the Saints' team captains, started all 16 regular season games, registering 105 tackles, a career-high four sacks, three forced fumbles, three passes defensed and an interception. Vilma helped pace the defending Super Bowl champion Saints to an 11-5 record and this week's contest against the NFC West Champion Seattle Seahawks in an NFC Wild card game.
"It's always an honor to be elected to the Pro Bowl," Vilma said. "I thank the fans, the players of the N.F.L. and the people around the league that thought highly enough of our efforts. There are a lot of guys not only on our team that are deserving of being in the Pro Bowl. I am grateful for the recognition and just want to express my gratitude."
In his regular season career the University of Miami product, who entered the NFL as a first round pick of the Jets in 2004 with the 12th overall selection, has played in 102 career regular season games (all starts) and racked up 780 career tackles (556 solo) 11 interceptions, 10 fumbles and nine sacks. He was acquired by the Saints in a 2008 trade with the Jets for a conditional draft choice in 2009.