Texans punter Cameron Johnston and linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill are on the cusp of cracking the AFC Pro Bowl roster.
They are both Pro Bowl alternates. The Texans had no Pro Bowl selections. The AFC punter is the Las Vegas Raiders' A.J. Cole. The AFC linebackers are the Raiders' Denzel Perryman and the Indianapolis Colts' Darius Leonard. For Johnston or Grugier-Hill to be named to the game, it would be as an injury replacement or for any other reason.
Neither Grugier-Hill or Johnston has been named to a Pro Bowl before.
Signed to a three-year, $8 million contract last offseason, Johnson led the fan balloting at one point. However, Cole was named to the Pro Bowl after leading the entire NFL with a 50.3 average.
A former Philadelphia Eagles standout and Big Ten Conference Punter of the Year at Ohio State, the Australia native has a 46.9 average this season with a long punt of 69 yards. Johnson has 32 punts downed inside opponents' 20-yard line to rank second overall.
Grugier-Hill, a player the Texans would like to have back with his one-year, $3.25 million contract set to expire, was activated from the COVID-19 reserve list and has recovered well from a sprained knee that didn't require surgery. Previously with the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, Grugier-Hill has recorded a career-high and team-high 94 tackles, 12 for losses, three sacks, five quarterback hits and two forced fumbles and one interception that he returned 82 yards in a win over the Tennessee Titans.
“I guess maybe in my own heart that stuff is nice, but you play the game not for accolades, you play the game just to be the best of yourself," Texans special teams coordinator Frank Ross said of Johnston not making the Pro Bowl. "I think Cam, that’s not going to affect anything about any of our players. We’re going to compete every day regardless of what the outcome is. The ultimate goal is to be the best that you can possibly be, and hopefully that results in a championship.
"I think all those things along the way will take care of themselves. As far as how he’s played, I want him to continue to press to every punt, every rep, punt in and punt out to be executed with whatever that call or circumstance in the game will dictate, and hopefully he will do that to the best of his abilities.”