CHARLOTTE— Derrick Brown has been named to the Pro Bowl and will head to the games in Orlando, Fla., in February, the league announced on Friday.
Brown was originally voted in as the NFC's first alternate at defensive tackle. The three originally named were Aaron Donald (Rams), Dexter Lawrence (Giants), and Javon Hargrave (49ers). Brown will be replacing Donald, who is unable to participate due to injury.
A former first-round pick, Brown is coming off of a legendary season. He blew past the NFL's single-season tackle record for a defensive lineman, finishing with 103 total. He broke the previous record of 98 tackles set by Christian Wilkins in 2022. In the process, he multiplied the previous franchise record of 67, set by Mike Rucker in 2002 which he tied last year.
"Coming into the season, I just wanted to break the record here," Brown said, before joking, "(Going to) try to set it to where I can't even get it again."
The Pro Bowl rosters, including starters and alternates, were announced on Jan. 3. At that time, being named an alternate, Brown said of the selection: "I wanted to make the team. I think that's obvious. I played hard. No discredit to nobody else. But, it sucks. I'm appreciative of the recognition, for sure."
Now he'll get a chance to prove he belongs amongst the elite.
"He's had a heck of a year," defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero said of Brown's performance. "He's been so disruptive. I don't think it's arguably—I think he's been the best run defender in the NFL this year. He's done a heck of a job rushing the quarterback, and creating pressures, the interception, the batted balls. There's been so much production. The leadership. He's been instrumental in everything that we've done."
The Panthers had three other players named as alternates. Brian Burns was a second alternate at outside linebacker, and punter Johnny Hekkerand long snapper JJ Jansen were named third alternates at their positions.
Alternates can be invited to the Pro Bowl Games if players ahead of them drop out because of injury or Super Bowl participation. The event will be held in Orlando the first week of February, starting Thursday, February 1, and lasting through Sunday, February 4.
Thursday will feature a skills showdown with the players in attendance. Sunday is the Pro Bowl Games championship, featuring an elevated skills challenge and a flag football game.