The call that came Tuesday to assign left end Carlos Dunlap to the Jan. 29 Pro Bowl also put him into select company in Bengals' annals.
Dunlap joins Mike Reid, Coy Bacon, Tim Krumrie and teammate Geno Atkins as the only defensive linemen in franchise history to go to back-to-back Pro Bowls. Throw in safeties Tommy Casanova and David Fulcher, along with cornerback Lemar Parish, and only now only nine defenders have pulled off the Pro Bowl double.
"My goal for next year obviously is to get voted in and not go as an alternate," said Dunlap, a second alternate who got the nod when Oakland's Khalil Mack and Houston's Jadevon Clowney got injured.
"But I think it says something about consistency and having a presence," said Dunlap, whose eight sacks were second to Atkins' 9.5 in Bengaldom. "We didn't have the year we wanted. Obviously when you win, everybody has a chance to have a better year. I want to do better next year. We all want to do better and play like we did last year, when we had eight guys go."
Dunlap joins Atkins on the AFC team in the 8 p.m. ESPN game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., the Sunday before the Super Bowl. Wide receiver A.J. Green was voted in but won't play because of the hamstring injury that took him out of the second half of the season. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth may very well also be headed to his second straight Pro Bowl and third overall as a first alternate after the Raiders' Donald Penn missed the Wild Card loss to the Texans with a small fracture in his knee.
Dunlap isn't thinking about injury. Certainly not the torn ankle ligaments that Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert suffered in the last Pro Bowl and ended up taking him out of the first four games.
No, Dunlap is playing.
"You can't think about it. If you do, you're going to have problems," Dunlap said. "I'm just going to go out there and do my job."
He doesn't even mind that the game's not in Hawaii like last year.
"It's heck of a lot easier to get people to Orlando from Charleston, S.C. Not quite as expensive," Dunlap said. "So it will be nice to have people there that couldn't make it last year."
Dunlap's 23 QB hits, a team-leading three forced fumbles and 49 tackles that led the line were nice. . But the 15 passes defensed were supersonic, the first time a Bengal down lineman led the team in passes defensed and he led it by five.
He had nearly twice as many passes defensed as any NFL defensive lineman with Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants ranking second at eight. All of the NFL players with more PDs than Dunlap were cornerbacks. And he was one shy of J.J. Watt's all-time mark.
"That's really one of those records I see as off-the-record," Dunlap said. "Now, if I did what J.J. did and got them with all those sacks. That's something else."