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Witten Set For 10th Pro Bowl

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#VFL Jason Witten will take part in his 10th Pro Bowl on Sunday night as a member of Team Irvin. Witten is the third VFL to be selected for this year's game joining quarterback Peyton Manning and running back Arian Foster. Both Manning and Foster will not play do to injury. 

Witten will play for Team Irvin, guided by fellow Cowboys star Michael Irvin. Here's a look at some stories mentioning Witten:

#VFL Hardegree Hired By Chicago Bears

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Former Vols quarterback Bo Hardegree has been hired by the Chicago Bears as an offensive assistant. Read the official release: Bears hire Hardegree as assistant.

The Bears on Saturday reached an agreement with Bo Hardegree to become an offensive assistant.

Bo Hardegree
Hardegree has seven years coaching experience at the collegiate and NFL levels. In 2014, he served as an offensive quality control coach under new Bears coach John Fox with the Denver Broncos, who were second in the NFL in scoring offense (30.1 points per game) and fourth in total offense (402.9 yards per game). 

Prior to his time with Denver, Hardegree spent three years at LSU working as an intern on both defense (2011) and offense (2012-13). In his three seasons at LSU, the Tigers posted a 33-7 record and captured the 2011 SEC title while earning a trip to the BCS National Championship Game.  

Hardegree started his coaching career at Duke, where he served as a graduate assistant from 2008-10 working primarily with the offense under head coach David Cutcliffe.

Hardegree played both football (quarterback) and tennis at the University of Tennessee, graduating from the school in 2007 with a degree in exercise science. The Jackson, Tenn., native was named to the All-SEC Academic team from 2004-07.

#VFL Kacy Rodgers Named Jets Defensive Coordinator

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Former Tennessee defensive lineman Kacy Rodgers has been named the new defensive coordinator for the New York Jets. 

As a Tennessee DE/LB, Kacy played in three consecutive New Year's Day bowl games -- the 1990 Cotton Bowl Classic, '91 Sugar Bowl and '92 Fiesta Bowl. He was an undrafted free agent who went to training camp with the Steelers in 1992 and also played football in Louisiana (the Shreveport Pirates) for a Canadian league (the CFL) in 1994.

Rodgers and new Jets head coach Todd Bowles worked together on Bill Parcells' Dallas staff in 2005. They were Cowboys for three seasons, then stayed together on Tony Sparano's Miami Dolphins staff for the four years after that.

And from 2008-14, his entire tenure with Miami, Rodgers' Dolphins D-lines have contributed strongly to 287 sacks, third-most in the NFL in that span behind only Minnesota and Philadelphia.

Before the pros, Rodgers coached D-line at Tennessee-Martin, Louisiana-Monroe and Middle Tennessee State. He also rose to assistant head coach at UT-Martin (1997) and MTSU (2000-01).

Happy Birthday - Jan. 23

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Today, we have two special #Team119 birthdays to celebrate on Rocky Top! Join us in wishing a very Happy Birthday to both Rashaan Gaulden and Jalen Hurd!

Rashaan GauldenJalen Hurd

Coleman Makes 4 Tackles In Shrine Game

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Jan 17, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; West wide receiver Da'Ron Brown (81), of Northern Illinois, runs with the ball as East cornerback Justin Coleman (21), of Tennessee, defends during the first quarter at the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field . Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee's Justin Coleman posted four tackles and had a pass break-up for the East in the 2015 East-West Shrine Game. Coleman's East team won the game 19-3. 

Heading into the game, Coleman drew attention from The Sporting News as the #2 player to watch in the game: Ten things to watch in the 90th East-West Shrine Game. Here's what the website posted on the Tennessee product: 

The East cornerbacks form one of the most talented units in this game, and Coleman was a standout during the week of practice. 

Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times asked East coach Mike Singletary which players impressed him the most. Singletary first mentioned Coleman, who had an impressive interception during coverage drills Wednesday. Coleman measured 5-11, 184 pounds with a solid, thick build. He had four interceptions for the Volunteers in 2014 while played mostly inside.

The week was an excellent test for Coleman. He was forced to match up with receivers in tight man coverage more often than he did for the Vols. Coleman excelled in those drills. He also showcased excellent ball skills during position work.

Witten Headed To 10th Pro Bowl

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VFL Jason Witten is set to return to the Pro Bowl for the 10th time in his 12-year career. On Sunday, it was announced that Witten would be a replacement for Denver's Julius Thomas, who pulled out of the game with an injury. 

DallasCowboys.com has the story: Jason Witten Added To Pro Bowl For 10th Time

Witten is now tied for second on the Cowboys' all-time list of Pro Bowl with 10, joining Hall of Famers Mel Renfro and Larry Allen. The trio is behind only Bob Lilly, who leads all players in franchise history with 11 Pro Bowl trips.

After missing the Pro Bowl his rookie season in 2003, Witten made seven straight selections from 2004-2010. After missing out in 2011, Witten has now made it to three straight.

This past season, Witten caught just 64 passes, his fewest single-season total since 2006. He also had just 703 yards, his lowest total since his rookie year of just 347.

But while Witten spent more time in the backfield as a blocker, helping the Cowboys have the second-best rushing attack in the league, he still caught five touchdown passes.

And down the stretch, Witten was even more of a valuable receiver for Romo, catching 29 balls in the last five regular-season games. In the playoffs, he caught five and six balls against Detroit and Green Bay, respectively.

Ironically, Witten was added to the Pro Bowl roster Monday on the same day as former teammate Martellus Bennett, who backed him up the first four years of his career. Bennett caught 90 balls for 916 yards this year.

NFC Championship: Packers vs. Seahawks, 3:05 p.m. (FOX)

Former Vol Tony McDaniel will head into the NFC Championship game this Sunday against the Green Bay Packers in his second season with the Seattle Seahawks. McDaniel is overcoming a shoulder injury and did not practice on Wednesday but participated in practice at the end of the week.

If McDaniel returns to the Super Bowl, it would mean at least one Vol has played in 23 of the last 24 Super Bowls. 

During the regular season, McDaniel racked up 31 tackles and had a safety and pass deflection. 

Happy Birthday - Jan. 17

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Today, we come together to wish head football coach Butch Jones the happiest of Birthdays!

Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones

Also, join us in wishing former Vols Garrick Porteous (M Golf) and Evelyn Radford (rowing) Happy Birthday!

Garrick PorteousEvelyn Radford

Two prestigious football VFLs are also celebrating their birthdays today, Jimmy Colquitt, STL Rams starting Center Scott Wells and Dontavis Sapp!

Scott WellsDontavis Sapp

Gilliam, Hurd On ESPN.com's All-SEC Bowl Team

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Tennessee offensive tackle Jacob Gilliam and running back Jalen Hurd were named to ESPN.com's All-SEC Bowl Team.

Here's what Edward Aschoff wrote about him: 
Jalen Hurd, Tennessee: Another incredibly talented freshman, Hurd ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries in Tennessee's Outback Bowl win against Iowa.

Jacob Gilliam, Tennessee: Despite playing with a torn ACL in his left knee and a heavily wrapped, injured left hand, Gilliam, a former walk-on, was an intricate part to Tennessee's impressive offensive performance against Iowa.

Coleman Garnering Attention At Shrine Game Practice

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Tennessee's Justin Coleman has received some good attention while participating in Shrine Game practices this week in St. Petersburg, Fla. 

NFL.com had some nice analysis of his play from fellow VFL Charles  Davis: 

Tennessee CB Justin Coleman: Davis, a former Vols cornerback himself, says Coleman (5-11, 190) increased his level of play during the season, and that has carried over to this week. Davis especially likes Coleman's footwork. Coleman had some entertaining and spirited one-on-one battles with Michigan State's Keith Mumphrey and Maryland's Deon Long during East practice Tuesday.

Also on NFL.com, Coleman was spotted talking with scouts from the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins. 

Here are a few tweets referencing Coleman: 

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