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LB In NFL: Pro Bowl Voting Closes Thursday

Six Long Beach products in the NFL are hoping for your votes as the fan voting concludes on Thursday night, so if you haven’t already, visit and vote for Poly alums JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jayon Brown, Jurrell Casey, DeSean Jackson, and Jamize Olawale, and Wilson alum Joel Bitonio.

Fan voting makes up one third of the points, with coaches and players’ votes making up the other two thirds–they’ll vote on Friday after the fan vote has been tallied.

The Pro Bowlers for this year will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 18.

Long Beach Poly

JuJu Smith-Schuster’s breakout sophomore campaign continues, as he had a “Catch of the Year” candidate on a touchdown against the Raiders last weekend, in a big week that improves his season stat line to 91 catches for 1,234 yards and six touchdowns on the season. Smith-Schuster has the sixth-most catches and third-most receiving yardage of anyone in the NFL.

Jayon Brown still leads all inside linebackers in sacks this year, and is sixth in tackles. His Titans teammate Jurrell Casey is hoping for a fourth consecutive Pro Bowl appearance this year and is up to seven sacks on the year. DeSean Jackson sat a second consecutive week with injury.


Jordan alum John Ross continues to make the most of his opportunity with Bengals top receiver AJ Green sidelined with an injury. Ross caught another touchdown last weekend to bring his season total to 18 catches for 200 yards and six scores.


Joel Bitonio has helped to lead the turnaround in Cleveland, where the Browns have bounced back from being 0-16 last year to have a 5-7-1 record after a win over the Panthers on Sunday. Bitonio played so well that he made Pro Football Focus’ “Team of the Week” as the top-graded tackle in the NFL on Sunday. Smith-Schuster made that list as well, meaning that two of the top 11 offensive players in the NFL on Sunday were both from Long Beach and the Moore League.


Lancers alum Matt Pryor remains on the Eagles’ 53-man roster but has been inactive every week so far, including this week. Pryor has just three weeks left to make it onto the active roster for the Eagles before the season ends; injuries to offensive linemen last Sunday could open the door for him.


Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.