The NFL will celebrate its brightest stars of today and tomorrow with new Pro Bowl week festivities in 2017 in Orlando.
Culminating with the 2017 Pro Bowl game at Camping World Stadium on Sunday, January 29 and televised live at 7 PM CT on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, Pro Bowl week will celebrate all levels of football -- from youth to high school to the NFL's best.
The 2017 Pro Bowl will feature a return to the traditional AFC vs. NFC game format following three years using a revised, "unconferenced" format. The NFL's best will once again be in the spotlight as 88 players -- 44 from the AFC and 44 from the NFC -- are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches.
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PRO: An elite cornerback recognized for his blazing speed and a feisty attitude, Cortland Finnegan is one of the team’s defensive leaders. Despite his humble entry to the league from Samford University, the former seventh-round draft choice is frequently mentioned alongside the NFL’s top players at his position. He has been named to one Pro Bowl (2008).
• In his first four NFL seasons (2006-09), played in 61 games (47 starts) and totaled 321 tackles, four sacks, 11 interceptions and 56 passes defensed.
• With five interceptions in each of the 2008 and 2009 seasons, he became the first Titans player to record back-to-back five interception efforts since Daryll Lewis (1994-97).
• Was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2008 and earned first-team All-Pro honors after he led the club with 20 passes defensed and finished tied for sixth in the NFL with five interceptions.
• Received a multi-year contract extension during the 2008 preseason.
• As a rookie in 2006, the former college safety played cornerback for the first time, mostly used in nickel and dime packages. He won a starting job at the beginning of 2007 and has been in the lineup ever since.
• In 2006 pre-draft workouts, impressed scouts when he was timed in the 40-yard dash at 4.33 seconds, bench pressed 225 pounds 14 times and recorded a 44-inch vertical jump.
• Finnegan was raised in a single-family home by his mother, Linda Finnegan, who retired from the Army after 20 years, including three years in Korea when Cortland was a young child.
• Finnegan was the first Samford University player drafted into the NFL since 1969, when Gary Fleming was selected in the seventh round by the Baltimore Colts.
• Finnegan has talked about becoming a volunteer firefighter and a football coach after his playing career ends.
• In 2009, he launched his own foundation, ARK 31. The name of the foundation came to him while watching the movie Evan Almighty, as the audience is told to change the world “one act of random kindness at a time.” He added his jersey number to the name, and soon the organization was launched.
• One of ARK 31’s signature events is “Karaoke for the Cure,” a fundraiser in which Titans players and celebrities make their best efforts at singing in order to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Other ARK 31 events include a celebrity golf tournament in Lewisburg, Tenn.; a football camp in Milton, Fla.; “Kid’s Carnival Day” at the Nashville Zoo; and “Cortland’s Christmas Dinner” for families from LLS and Special Olympics of Middle Tennessee. More information is available at the organization’s website, www.ARK31.org.
• Part of his passion for helping special needs children comes from his own family’s history. His older sister, Felicia, had Down syndrome and passed away at age seven from complications with her disorder.
• The Milton, Fla., native was selected with the Titans’ first pick of the seventh round (215th overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft.
• During four-year career at Samford, named first-team All-OVC three times as a safety and totaled 338 tackles, seven tackles for loss, nine interceptions, 26 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. As return specialist, returned 70 kickoffs for 1,980 yards (28.3 avg.) with three touchdowns and returned 14 punts for 212 yards (15.1 avg.) and one touchdown. Set NCAA Division 1-AA career record with 28.3 kickoff return average and set Samford single game record with 263 kickoff return yards in 2002.
• As senior, named first-team All-American by NFL Draft Report, first-team All-American by American Football Coaches Association and first-team All-OVC for third consecutive year. Started every game at free safety and led team with 98 tackles for third consecutive season and added two tackles for loss, one interception, seven passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Ranked first in OVC conference with 15.1 punt return average, while returning 14 punts for 212 yards and one touchdown. Ranked second in OVC conference with 25.1 kickoff return average on 15 returns for 376 yards.
• Majored in education and minor in family studies.
• Splits time between Nashville and Milton, Fla.
• At Milton (Fla.) High School, earned first-team All-State, All-Northwest Florida and 3A District Player of the Year as senior. Named team captain and Most Valuable Player, posting 22 receptions for 403 yards with 11 rushing touchdowns on offense and recorded 115 tackles with five interceptions in 2001.
• Also was starting point guard for all four years on high school basketball team.
• Honored in 2009 by The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as one of Nashville’s “Top 30 Under 30.”
• In December 2009, was named to USA Football’s inaugural “All-Fundamentals” Team, a 26-man roster of the NFL’s most fundamentally-sound players who also commit themselves to service in their communities.
• Named a Titans Community All-Star in 2008 due in large part to his involvement with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Special Olympics of Middle Tennessee and Young Life Christian Ministries.
• He was nominated as a candidate for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year in 2008 after taking a leadership role in the charity’s “Light the Night Walk” and his annual “Karaoke for the Cure” event.
• He donates money to LLS and Special Olympics for every tackle he makes and also donates game tickets to the non-profits.
• With his support for Young Life, he has helped underprivileged children participate in Christian camps and activities.
• While at Samford, completed an internship at Lakeshore Foundation Sports Rehabilitation Center for children and adults with special needs.
• List of favorites: (movies) “Armageddon” and “For the Love of the Game”; (music artists) Sugarland and Rascall Flatts; (actor/actress) Denzel Washington/Hilary Swank; (sports hero) Barry Sanders; (food) Ham and Yams; (car) Pinto; and (vacation getaway) The beaches in Florida.
• Born Cortland Temujin Finnegan on Feb. 2, 1984 in Fayetteville, N.C.