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Nevada alum Joel Bitonio makes fourth AP All-Pro team, this time as first-teamer

Joel Bitonio
Joel Bitonio was named to the AP All-Pro team Friday. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Joel Bitonio earned his fourth AP All-Pro honor Friday, and was voted to the first team for the first time in his career.

In his eighth season in the NFL, Bitonio had another outstanding campaign, playing every offensive snap for Cleveland for the fifth straight season. He earned AP All-Pro second-team honors at left guard in 2018, 2019 and 2020 before being bumped up to the first team in 2021. Bitonio received 28 of 50 votes at left guard, followed by the Colts' Quenton Nelson (13 votes), who earned second-team honors, Kansas City's Joe Thuney (six votes), Tampa Bay's Ali Marpet (two votes) and Tennessee's Rodger Saffold (one vote).

Nelson had beaten out Bitonio for first-team honors in each of the last three seasons but fell to the second team this year, in part because he missed four games this season. Bitonio has consistently rated as one of the top offensive linemen in the NFL after being a second-round draft pick out of Nevada in 2014. He was voted to his fourth straight Pro Bowl this season, earning starting honors for the second straight year.

In 2021, Bitonio was flagged only four times (three false starts, one hold) and allowed just one sack while paving the way for one of the NFL's top rushing teams. In his eight-year career, Bitonio has allowed only six sacks with 25 penalties in 112 games, all starts. After back-to-back season-ending injuries in 2015 and 2016, Bitonio has been one of the league's top iron men.

Bitonio is one of four Wolf Pack players to earn NFL AP All-Pro honors. His four AP All-Pro honors are a program record. Defensive end Charles Mann was the only previous Wolf Pack player to earn multiple AP All-Pro honors, doing so in 1987 and 1991 as a second-team selection. Nevada alums RB Marion Motley (first team in 1950) and DE Doug Betters (first team in 1983) also has won AP All-Pro honors. Harvey Dahl, Brock Marion and Brandon Marshall have garnered votes for the team in previous seasons.

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