OWINGS MILLS -- Michael Vick looked completely startled, his eyes widening in surprise at how…
Kelly Gregg: Finally a Pro Bowl Contender
Gregg, the 6' tall, 310 lb. tackle out of Oklahoma, has been anchoring the defensive line for the Ravens all season long. So far, Gregg has totaled 47 tackles, 2.5 sacks, forced 1 fumble, and recovered 2 fumbles; one of which led to a 59 yard return during week 2 against Oakland. Currently, Gregg leads all defensive tackles in the NFL in total tackles, and helps break down the line of scrimmage for the #3 rushing defense in the NFL.
Gregg, affectionately known as "Buddy Lee" amongst teammates and coaches, is well respected. When asked about Gregg's sack on Michael Vick, head coach Brian Billick spoke highly of his defensive tackle. "Buddy Lee is an amazing guy. You always underestimate him."
"Underestimated" is something Gregg has been known for in Baltimore. In 2005, Kelly Gregg was passed up in the Pro Bowl voting, even though he statistically out-performed the interior lineman who made the roster. Last year's AFC Pro Bowl team consisted of Jacksonville's Marcus Stroud, San Diego's Jamal Williams, Pittsburgh's Casey Hampton, and New England's Richard Seymour. However, the leading tackler among this group, Williams, registered 53 tackles. Kelly Gregg recorded 59 tackles for the year. Also, only one player recorded more sacks than Kelly Gregg's 1.5, which was Richard Seymour (4).
But 2005 wasn't the only year Gregg was passed over. Gregg posted career highs in 2003 with 80 tackles and 3 sacks. Pro-Bowlers Stroud, Seymour, and Hampton racked up 57, 65, and 39 tackles respectively, but Gregg still remained off the roster. In 2004, Gregg had more tackles (60) than all defensive tackles on the roster (Seymour, Stroud, Adams, Henderson), except for Henderson.
"Buddy Lee" has consistently performed amongst the top defensive tackles in the NFL, but has yet to obtain the Pro Bowl nod. Gregg is now on pace to reach 75 tackles and 4 sacks for the season. But would this be enough to get the check next to his name on the ballots of fans across the country?
Perhaps not obtaining "All-pro" status is the price that is paid for playing on a defense that is filled with big name talent. In fact, aside from first year starter Bart Scott, and rookies Haloti Ngata and Dawan Landry, Kelly Gregg is the only player on the Ravens defense that has yet to reach a Pro Bowl.
Even though Buddy Lee has yet to spend the coveted week in Hawaii, Baltimore fans know how important he is to the team. Kelly Gregg may not be the first player that comes to mind when thinking of dominant defensive lineman, but the numbers speak for themselves. Maybe this is the year that Gregg will finally get the national recognition he deserves, but one thing is certain. Kelly Gregg has become a fan favorite in Baltimore, and has shown he is an integral part of what is arguably the best defense in the NFL.
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