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Titans DE Babin, rookie KR Mariani selected to Pro Bowl

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee defensive end Jason Babin and rookie returner Marc Mariani have been selected for the AFC Pro Bowl roster.

This is the first Pro Bowl honor for Babin, a seven-year veteran who has a career-high 12.5 sacks in his first season with Tennessee. He leads AFC defensive ends and is third in the NFL in sacks.

"Making the first Pro Bowl really means a lot to me," said Babin, a former first-round draft pick by Houston on a one-year deal with the Titans. "It's something I've been trying to get to for a long time, so it's extra special."

He said the Titans' defense was a good fit for him.

"I'm just real, real excited, and I'm ecstatic about being selected," Babin said Tuesday night on coach Jeff Fisher's weekly radio show. "It's one thing to have the fans like you and people like you. But when the peers and the fans and coaches all vote, and you're selected to that unique list, it means a lot."

Mariani, the Titans' seventh-round draft pick (selected 222nd overall) out of Montana, leads the AFC and is third in the NFL with a 12.9 yards-per-punt return average, and he ranks fourth in the AFC on kickoff returns, averaging 25.2 yards. He has set the franchise single-season record with 1,411 yards on kickoff returns with a game remaining.

Mariani is the only player in the NFL this season to return both a punt and kickoff for a TD, and he joined Billy Johnson as the only players in franchise history to do that in the same regular season. Fisher broke the news on a call the Titans taped and put on the team's website.

"It's just been a crazy roller-coaster ride for me," Mariani said on WGFX 104.5 The Zone during Fisher's show. "I've been so blessed. ... It's been crazy, and I just enjoyed every second of it."

Fisher said on the show that the Titans also have three players who were voted as first alternates, but he didn't disclose the names of the players because they hadn't been told. The list likely includes Chris Johnson, who is third in the NFL with 1,325 yards rushing and was voted to the roster during his first two seasons.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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