Grif­fin one of two rook­ies cho­sen

Former Longhorns Charles, Daw­son, John­son, Mel­ton and Thomas picked.

Austin American-Statesman - - NFL - By Bar­ry­wilner Michael Perez / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

NEW YORK — Pey­ton Man­ning and Adrian Peter­son want to cap their sen­sa­tional come­backs with Su­per Bowl ap­pear­ances. For now, they can be proud of Pro Bowl spots.

So can Red­skins quar­ter­back Robert Grif­fin III, one of two rook­ies cho­sen Wed­nes­day for the Jan. 27 NFL all-star game.

Man­ning missed all of the 2011 sea­son with neck and back prob­lems that re­quired sev­eral op­er­a­tions. He then signed with Den­ver as a free agent and has led the Broncos on a 10-game win­ning streak to take the AFC West.

“I know there’s great play­ers out there in the NFL, but there’s some great play­ers on this team this year that de­serve to go,” said Man­ning, whose 12th Pro Bowl is a record for quar­ter­backs. He ranks fourth in league pass­ing this year, has thrown 34 touch­downs and 11 in­ter­cep­tions.

Four other Broncos made the AFC ros­ter: DE Elvis Dumervil, line­backer Von Miller, CB Champ Bai­ley and tackle Ryan Clady. Bai­ley’s 12th ap­pear­ance is a record for de­fen­sive backs.

“My goal has al­ways been to go out and help the team win and play at a high level,” Man­ning added. “Any­thing that comes along with that, like be­ing hon­ored as a Pro Bowl se­lec­tion, is very hum­bling.”

Min­nesota’s Peter­son tore up his left knee on Christ­mas Eve last year, un­der­went ma­jor surgery, then was back for the sea­son opener. He’s gone from un­cer­tain to un­stop- pable, run­ning away with the rush­ing ti­tle with a ca­reer-high 1,898 yards and lift­ing the Vik­ings to­ward an NFC wild card.

“Coming into the sea­son af­ter go­ing through the re­hab process, I just told my­self that I wanted to lead my team to a cham­pi­onship and make sure that I con­trib­ute and do my part,” Peter­son said.

For the first time, as many as five Texas Longhorns were se­lected: Kansas City RB Ja­maal Charles, Cleve­land kicker Phil Daw­son, Kansas City line­backer Der­rick John­son, Chicago de­fen­sive tackle Henry Mel­ton and Seat­tle safety Earl Thomas. Daw­son, a 14year veteran, and Mel­ton will be mak­ing their first ap­pear­ances.

Grif­fin is one of three rookie QBs who had su­perb de­but sea­sons, along with An­drew Luck of Indianapolis and Rus­sell Wil­son of Seat­tle. Luck and Wil­son weren’t voted to the Pro Bowl by play­ers, coaches and fans, although their teams are in the play­offs; Grif­fin can get to the post­sea­son if Washington beats Dal­las on Sun­day.

“You can’t play down those kind of things,” Grif­fin said. “I’ve al­ways said my whole foot­ball ca­reer that you don’t play for awards. They just come. You don’t say you’re go­ing to win the Heis­man. You don’t say you’re go­ing to win MVP. You go out and you prove it on the field, and if ev­ery­one feels that way then they’ll give you that award.”

San Fran­cisco had the most play­ers se­lected, nine, in­clud­ing six from its sec­ond-ranked de­fense. Hous­ton was next with eight.

Kansas City, de­spite its 2-13 record that is tied with Jack­sonville for worst in the league, had five Pro Bowlers.

One other rookie, Min­nesota kicker Blair Walsh, was cho­sen. Walsh has nine field goals of at least 50 yards, an NFL mark.

An­other record set­ter will be head­ing to Honolulu: Detroit WR Calvin John­son, who broke Jerry Rice’s sin­gle-sea­son yards re­ceiv­ing record.

Fal­cons tight end Tony Gon­za­lez set the record for Pro Bowls at his po­si­tion by be­ing cho­sen for the 13th time.

The league’s top two sack­mas­ters, DEs Al­don Smith of San Fran­cisco and J.J. Watt of Hous­ton, were first-time se­lec­tions. An­other first-timer is guard Wade Smith of Hous­ton.

Washington Red­skins quar­ter­back Robert Grif­fin III (above) and Min­nesota Vik­ings place kicker Blair Walsh were the only rook­ies se­lected to play in the Pro Bowl on Jan. 27.

Min­nesota Vik­ings run­ning back Adrian Peter­son had knee surgery af­ter an in­jury late last sea­son, but he’s re­turned to rush for a ca­reer-high 1,898 yards with one reg­u­lar-sea­son game re­main­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.