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Giants DE Olivier Vernon replaces Khalil Mack on NFC Pro Bowl roster

Khalil Mack, Olivier Vernon, Giants, Bears

Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack has pulled out of the Pro Bowl with an ankle injury, and, as a result, New York Giants linebacker Olivier Vernon will take his place, according to Michael Eisen of the Giants’ official team website.

Vernon played in just 11 games this season due to an ankle injury, registering 30 tackles, seven sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, a relatively tame stat-line for a Pro Bowler. It marks his first trip to Honolulu.

The 28-year-old, who played his collegiate football at the University of Miami, was originally selected by the Miami Dolphins in the third round (72nd pick overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft.

He did not become a full-time starter for the Dolphins until his second year, when he racked up 57 tackles and 11.5 sacks. The following year, Vernon posted 47 tackles, 6.5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles, and he ended his Miami tenure in 2015 when he totaled 61 stops and 7.5 sacks.

Vernon then proceeded to sign a five-year, $85 million contract with the Giants in March 2016 and has been one of the most consistent players on their defense ever since, beginning his run with the Giants by recording 64 tackles, 8.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 2016.

He then tallied 37 tackles, 6.5 sacks, an interception and a couple of forced fumbles last season before switching over from defensive end to linebacker to fit New York’s new 3-4 defense in 2018.

The Giants went just 5-11 this season and have made the playoffs only once since winning the Super Bowl during the 2011-12 campaign.