When Jacoby Jones sees daylight, he runs for it.
It took coach John Harbaugh five weeks to put him in as a kick returner in place of rookie Deonte Thompson, and it immediately paid off when Jones went 108 yards to tie an NFL record in a 31-29 win vs. the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6.
Jones, who left the Houston Texans in turmoil after five seasons and a key fumble in last season’s playoffs, was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his first season here by averaging an NFL-high 32.1 yards per return.
He'll be joined by safety Ed Reed, fullback Vonta Leach, tackle Haloti Ngata, guard Marshal Yanda and running back Ray Rice. Safety Bernard Pollard was named as an alternate for the game to be played Jan. 27, the week before the Super Bowl, on NBC.
"I had a chance to come to a breath of fresh air. As soon as I walked in the door they told me to be myself," Jones said of coming to Baltimore.
Leach (3rd invite), Reed (9th) and Yanda (2nd) will be starters.
Jones has two touchdowns on kick returns and one on a punt. When the offense couldn’t get going in its first meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jones took a punt 63 yards for the Ravens’ only touchdown in a 13-10 victory in Week 11.
Anytime the Ravens’ running game is working with Rice and Bernard Pierce, the blocking of Leach leads the way. And Leach also has helped spring Jones free on returns.
"The ultimate goal is the Super Bowl, but to have that respect around the league is something you never take for granted because people respect the work you put on and off the field. It comes from everybody," said Rice, alluding to fans, coaches and players have an equal share in the voting process. "You getting three-way respect when you hear your name called."
This is Rice's third invite and Ngata's fourth. Ravens coach John Harbaugh is proud that he has so many representatives.
"It really is a great thing. You feel so good for those guys," Harbaugh said. "Most of us look at it like it's a team thing. Vicariously, we all take pride in that."