Columbus East High School football coach Bob Gaddis never had cast a vote for anyone on the NFL Pro Bowl ballot. Until now.
Gaddis went online at NFL.com and voted for former Columbus East star Stevie Brown, who has been making waves all over the NFL with his tremendous season at strong safety for the New York Giants.
With just nine starts, Brown has the second-most interceptions in the NFL at seven, one behind the Chicago Bears’ Tim Jennings.
But until his eight tackle, two-interception, one forced fumble game against the New Orleans Saints in a 52-27 win Sunday, Brown wasn’t even on the Pro Bowl ballot. That game convinced the NFL to add him.
At a glance
What: Former Columbus East football star Stevie Brown, now with the New York Giants, on NFL Pro Bowl ballot
To vote: Go to NFL.com and fill out ballot. Some cellphones can connect to vote at NFL.com/probowl
Statistics: Brown, who was just added to the ballot at strong safety this week, has 61 tackles, 7 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recovered fumbles and 8 passes defensed
In the lead: Green Bay’s Charles Woodson with 101,789 votes
Unfortunately for Brown, the fan vote (which counts for a third of a player’s selection process when combined with players’ votes and coaches’ votes) ends on Monday night at the conclusion of the Monday Night Football game between the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans.
“Stevie always has paid his dues,” Gaddis said. “He has done whatever it has taken to get on the field. He has played extremely well.”
Gaddis said the Columbus East community is very aware of his addition to the Pro Bowl ballot.
“All our teachers were made aware,” Gaddis said. “Our Quarterback Club knows and our parents all know. We are telling anyone we know so they can vote. We have been sending the ballot around the school.”
NFL players from Columbus include the late Blair Kiel (Bucs, Colts, Packers) from Columbus East, and Terry Schmidt (Bears, Saints) and Mike Phipps (Browns, Bears) from Columbus High.
Gaddis said “as far as I know” no player from Columbus has been on the Pro Bowl ballot before.
The leading vote-getting at strong safety for the NFC is Charles Woodson (101,789), who has only 38 tackles and one interception due to a broken collarbone.
Brown, who is 5-foot-11, 221-pounds, became a starter for the Giants when Kenny Phillips went down with a knee injury. Brown, 25, was drafted in the seventh round out of Michigan by the Raiders in 2010 and got only limited opportunities with the Raiders and Colts before landing with the Giants.
His 259 interception return yards this season is a franchise record. He has 61 tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and eight passes deflected on the season.
Earlier this week it was announced that quarterback Peyton Manning (823,372) was the NFL’s leading vote-getter for the Pro Bowl with 823,372 votes.
The Pro Bowl teams will be announced at 7 p.m. Dec. 26 on the NFL Network’s “Total Access” program. NFL players and coaches cast their votes on Thursday and Friday. The 2012 Pro Bowl will be played on Jan. 27 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.