Broncos lead league with nine Pro Bowlers
NEW YORK — The AFC West champion Denver Broncos led the NFL with nine players selected for the Pro Bowl on Tuesday.
Quarterback Peyton Manning was picked for the 14th time. Joining Manning from the Broncos will be Ryan Clady, Chris Harris, Von Miller, Aqib Talib, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, T.J. Ward and DeMarcus Ware. Denver also led the league with five defensive players selected.
The NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys were second with six selections for the Jan. 25 game in Glendale, Arizona, site of the Super Bowl.
Tony Romo will be going for the fourth time. Dez Bryant, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, DeMarco Murray and Tyron Smith were also honored.
Dallas led the NFL with six offensive players chosen.
Other notable players selected included Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks New England's Tom Brady (10th selection), Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers (fourth), and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger (third).
Roethlisberger's teammate, wide receiver Antonio Brown, was picked for the third time. Other receivers include Detroit's Calvin Johnson and Atlanta's Julio Jones.
And joining Brady from the AFC East champion Patriots are cornerback Darrelle Revis, tight end Rob Gronkowski, special teamer Matthew Slater and kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
Among the players earning first selections are wide receivers T.Y. Hilton of the Colts and Jordy Nelson of the Packers; Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell; and Eagles special teams star Darren Sproles.
"I think this year the difference has just been the amount of opportunities," Nelson said. "There have been more opportunities for Randall (Cobb) and myself and we have just been trying to make the most of them. I think for the most part we have been successful and just tried to help the offense put up as many yards and points as possible."
Martin, Aaron Donald of St. Louis and C.J. Mosley of Baltimore were the rookies selected.
Arian Foster was one of two Houston Texans honored, along with defensive end J.J. Watt.
"It is kind of the league's elite," Foster said. "It's a place where you can meet the best in the business and learn from their experiences. It's a place where the league's elite are selected and it's an honor."
Panthers tight end Greg Olsen was pleased with his selection.
"It's a tremendous honor to be selected to the Pro Bowl and be recognized by your peers, the coaches and the fans," Olsen said. "It's something that every player thinks about at one point in time. I'm very thankful and feel very fortunate to be a part of it."
The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks were one of six teams with five players. Not enough, according to one of their stars.
"It's kind of frustrating because you sometimes feel like your teammates are getting punished for being on a good team," defensive back Richard Sherman said.
"Your linebackers are getting punished for not having a D-line that allows them to make 130, 140 tackles. Your D-line is being punished because everybody is not going to get 10 sacks or one guy is not going to get 14, 15 sacks — that's difficult to get on a team like this. You just feel for guys."
Among the players not selected were Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, Packers running back Eddie Lacy and Giants rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who has 1,120 yards.
In fact no members of the Giants were selected. Three other teams: the Vikings, Titans and Jaguars were also shut out.
For the second consecutive season, players will be selected without regard to conference in voting by fans, coaches and players.
Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin will serve as alumni team captains for their Pro Bowl teams.
The Pro Bowl will be held prior to the Super Bowl for the sixth consecutive year.