Sports

NFL honors Taylor posthumously, snubs NFC South for Pro Bowl

Washington REdskins safety Sean Taylor was voted to the NFC Pro Bowl team posthumously on Tuesday, three weeks after he was sohot during a burglary at his Florida home.  It was Taylor's second selection.
Washington REdskins safety Sean Taylor was voted to the NFC Pro Bowl team posthumously on Tuesday, three weeks after he was sohot during a burglary at his Florida home. It was Taylor's second selection. AP

NEW YORK -- Pro Bowl voters honored the memory of Sean Taylor.

They also used a lot of votes on Dallas Cowboys and none on the NFC South, which didn't get a player into the league's all-star game.

Taylor, who died Nov. 27 after being shot during a burglary at his home in Florida, was voted the starting free safety on the NFC team. He was having an outstanding season and was one of the leading vote-getters among fans at the time of his death.

"It is well-deserved," Redskins center Casey Rabach said. "If he would have been able to finish the season, he would have been in there. It just shows the respect everybody around the league had for him and what a great player he was."

Taylor is the only player known to have made an all-star team posthumously in any sport other than goaltender Pelle Lindbergh was voted to the NHL All-Star game in February 1986. He had been killed in an auto accident in November 1985 after playing eight games for the Philadelphia Flyers, for whom he had won the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goalie the previous season.

Both conferences were dominated by players from the teams at the top of the standings, none more than Dallas, which had 11 voted to the team by fans, players and coaches for the game to be played in Honolulu on Feb. 10. Unbeaten New England had eight, including Tom Brady and Randy Moss, but also linebacker Mike Vrabel, who made it to the game for the first time in 11 NFL seasons.

Still, Jacksonville was ignored although the Jaguars are 10-4 and on the verge of clinching a playoff spot in the AFC. So were all four teams in the NFC South, plus Detroit and the New York Jets.

Dallas' contingent included the obvious: quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Terrell Owens. And with the Cowboys at 12-2, the fans came out for more of their favorites on "America's Team."

One of the Cowboys, running back Marion Barber, is not a starter for Dallas, although he leads the team with 871 yards rushing.

That's 315 more than starter Julius Jones, but is just seventh in the NFC, although Barber does have 11 touchdowns.

Green Bay, tied with Dallas at the top of the NFC, had four players on the team, including Brett Favre, who will start at quarterback. It is the ninth Pro Bowl for the 38-year-old Favre, his first since 2003.

San Diego, like New England, had eight players chosen. Minnesota was second in the NFC with seven, including rookie Adrian Peterson, who leads the conference in rushing.

Three rookies made the NFC team: Peterson, who is third in the NFL with 1,278 yards rushing and first among regular backs with a 5.9 average; linebacker Patrick Willis of San Francisco; and Dallas placekicker Nick Folk.

The Bay Area also sent both punters in the 49ers' Andy Lee and the Raiders' Shane Lechler.

Mariposa's Logan Mankins, an offensive lineman for the Patriots, will start in his first appearance in the All-Star game.

The Pro Bowl selection proves that you don't have to be a high draft choice from a big school to make it.

There are three undrafted free agents from Kent State on the AFC team. One is tight end Antonio Gates of San Diego, on the AFC team for the fourth straight year. The others are linebacker James Harrison of Pittsburgh and return man Joshua Cribbs of Cleveland.

There are 18 first-timers on the AFC team, 11 in the NFC.

Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden of Baltimore was voted to his 11th straight Pro Bowl in his 12th season.

Redemption also was a theme.

Jared Allen of Kansas City, suspended for the first two games of the season after multiple drunken driving convictions, will be a starting defensive end for the AFC.

"I was always raised that a man has to have great character," said Allen, whose suspension was reduced from four games to two by commissioner Roger Goodell after he promised to stop drinking.

"The measure of a man is what you do when no one is around and how you handle adversity. You can go two ways. You can bury yourself and just use it as a crutch and an excuse. Or it can motivate you and you can prove everybody wrong by working hard."

Albert Haynesworth of Tennessee, suspended for five games by Goodell last season after stomping on the head of Dallas' Andre Gurode during a game, made the AFC team at defensive tackle. He will play against Gurode, the starting center for the NFC.

One of those left off the team was Fred Taylor of Jacksonville, who has had four straight 100-yard rushing games and has 1,091 yards rushing and has a 5.1-yard average per carry while splitting time with Maurice Jones-Drew.

Taylor is the 18th leading rusher in NFL history, but has never been to the Pro Bowl. That makes him the only one of the top 43 rushers in history not to make it to the league's all-star game.

He anticipated that last week.

"Whatever happens, happens," he said. "They've got to tally up the votes, and however it comes out, I've got to live with it. I've always felt like I'm Pro Bowl-quality, so everything else doesn't matter."


Pro Bowl Rosters
American Football Conference
OFFENSE
QB:

Tom Brady*, New England4,235 yards/45 TDs

QB:

Peyton Manning, Indianapolis3,634/28 TDs

QB:

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh2,897/29 TDs

RB:

LaDainian Tomlinson*, San Diego1,311/14 TDs

RB:

Willie Parker, Pittsburgh1,317/2 TDs

RB:

Joseph Addai, Indianapolis1,019/11 TDs

FB:

Lorenzo Neal*, San DiegoBlocks for L.T.

WR:

Reggie Wayne*, Indianapolis1,280/9 TDs

WR:

Randy Moss*, New England1,343/19 TDs

WR:

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati1,028/11 TDs

WR:

Braylon Edwards, Cleveland1,170/13 TDs

TE:

Antonio Gates*, San Diego898/9 TDs

TE:

Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City971/5 TDs

G:

Logan Mankins*, New England



(Mariposa High grad) 

G:

Alan Faneca*, Pittsburgh 

G:

Kris Dielman, San Diego 

C:

Jeff Saturday*, Indianapolis  

C:

Dan Koppen, New England  

T:

Matt Light*, New England  

T:

Jason Peters*, Buffalo  

T:

Jonathan Ogden, Baltimore 

* -- Starter
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS
DE:

Jared Allen*, Kansas City59 tackles, 11.5 sacks

DE:

Kyle Vanden Bosch*, Tennessee48 tkl./9 sacks

DE:

Jason Taylor, Miami47 tkl./10 sacks/1 Int./TD

IDL:

Albert Haynesworth*, Tennessee36 tkl./6 sacks

IDL:

Vince Wilfork*, New England44 tkl./2 sacks

IDL:

Jamal Williams, San Diego39 tackles

OLB:

Mike Vrabel*, New England69 tkl./9.5 sacks

OLB:

James Harrison*, Pittsburgh89 tkl./8.5 sacks/Int.

OLB:

Shawne Merriman, San Diego63 tkl./11.5 sacks

ILB:

DeMeco Ryans*, Houston120 tkl./Int./2 sacks

ILB:

Ray Lewis, Baltimore121 tkl./2 sacks/2 Int.

CB:

Asante Samuel*, New England37 tkl./6 Int./TD

CB:

Champ Bailey*, Denver70 tackles, 3 interceptions

CB:

Antonio Cromartie, San Diego33 tackles/10 Int.

FS:

Ed Reed*, Baltimore33 tackles, 6 interceptions

SS:

Bob Sanders*, Indianapolis87 tkl./Int./2.5 sacks

SS:

Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh52 tkl./8 passes defensed

K:

Rob Bironas, Tennessee31-35 FG/26-26 XP

P:

Shane Lechler, Oakland49.0 avg., 6 touchbacks

KR:

Joshua Cribbs, Cleveland1,637 KR yards, 2 TDs

ST:

Kassim Osgood, San Diego 

* -- Starter
NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
OFFENSE
QB:

Brett Favre*, Green Bay3,905 yards, 26 TDs

QB:

Tony Romo, Dallas3,868/35 TDs

QB:

Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle3,620/25 TDs

RB:

Adrian Peterson*, Minnesota1,278/12 TDs

RB:

Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia1,896 tot. yds./12 TDs

RB:

Marion Barber, Dallas871 yards/9 TDs

FB:

Tony Richardson*, MinnesotaBlocks for A.P.

WR:

Terrell Owens*, Dallas1,307/14 TDs

WR:

Larry Fitzgerald*, Arizona1,166/8 TDs

WR:

Torry Holt, St. Louis1,055/7 TDs

WR:

Donald Driver, Green Bay1,016/2 TDs

TE:

Jason Witten*, Dallas1,068/7 TDs

TE:

Chris Cooley, Washington711/7 TDs

G:

Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota 

G:

Leonard Davis*, Dallas 

G:

Shawn Andrews*, Philadelphia 

C:

Andre Gurode*, Dallas 

C:

Matt Birk, Minnesota 

T:

Walter Jones*, Seattle 

T:

Flozell Adams*, Dallas 

T:

Chris Samuels, Washington 

* -- Starter
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS
DE:

Aaron Kampman*, Green Bay62 tackles, 12 sacks

DE:

Patrick Kerney*, Seattle59 tkl./13.5 sacks/Int.

DE:

Osi Umenyiora, N.Y Giants43 tkl./12 sacks

IDL:

Kevin Williams*, Minnesota32 tkl./3 sacks/2 Int.

IDL:

Pat Williams*, Minnesota58 tkl./2 sacks

IDL:

Tommie Harris, Chicago31 tkl./7 sacks

OLB:

DeMarcus Ware*, Dallas75 tkl./11 sacks

OLB:

Julian Peterson*, Seattle68 tkl./9 sacks

OLB:

Lance Briggs, Chicago95 tkl./2 sacks

ILB:

Lofa Tatupu*, Seattle101 tkl./4 Int./sack

ILB:

Patrick Willis, San Francisco142 tkl./sack

CB:

Al Harris*, Green Bay2 Int./9 passes defensed

CB:

Marcus Trufant*, Seattle77 tkl./7 Int/15 PD/TD

CB:

Terence Newman, Dallas46 tkl./4 Int/11 PD/TD

SS:

Darren Sharper*, Minnesota54 tkl./4 Int/6 PD/TD

FS:

Sean Taylor*, WashingtonDied Nov. 27

FS:

Ken Hamlin, Dallas54 tkl./5 Int/13 PD

K:

Nick Folk, Dallas22-26 FG/51-51 XP

P:

Andy Lee, San Francisco48.3 avg./13 touchbacks

KR:

Devin Hester, Chicago893 KR yds/587 PR yds/5 TDs

ST:

Brendan Ayanbadejo, Chicago 

* -- Starter
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