Pouncey, Haden earn 1st selections to Pro Bowl
Published: Friday, December 27, 2013 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, December 27, 2013 at 10:52 p.m.
HONOLULU — Three former Florida players were voted into the Pro Bowl on Friday, including a pair of first-time selections in Mike Pouncey and Joe Haden.
Pouncey, a center, is in his third season with the Miami Dolphins. His twin brother, Maurkice, has made three straight Pro Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers prior to a season-ending injury this year.
Haden, who is also in his third season with the Cleveland Browns, has four interceptions and 54 tackles this year at cornerback.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is making his second Pro Bowl appearance after earning a spot in his rookie season in 2011. A Heisman Trophy winner and 2011 BCS national champion at Auburn, Newton transferred from UF to Blinn College in 2009 following two seasons in Gainesville.
Denver quarterback Peyton Manning was selected to his 13th Pro Bowl after receiving the most votes among fans, 1.43 million. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees was second among fans with 1.2 million votes.
The NFL combines votes from fans, players and coaches to determine 86 of 88 Pro Bowl players; the other two players are long-snappers selected by Pro Bowl coaches. Voting ended Thursday.
Under a new format this year, NFL greats Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will divvy up the players in a two-day draft before the Jan. 26 game. Offensive and defensive players with the most votes who don't make it past the divisional playoff round will serve as active player captains.
Charles said Friday night on a reveal show on the NFL Network that he should be picked first.
“I think I got the best skillset of anybody on the roster,” Charles said. “I think I can play wide receiver and then put the ball in my hand, also. The only thing I can't do is throw the ball.”
Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly said he'll be fine wherever he's picked.
“I don't know, you got to get the guy who scores points,” he said.
The schoolyard-style selections mean it's likely teammates will be forced to play on opposite sides. Players on the winning team will earn $53,000 while the losers will get $26,000 under the collective bargaining agreement.
San Francisco linebacker NaVorro Bowman said he thinks it would be weird to have to tackle Gore or Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis.
“I might not tackle him,” Bowman said. “Just let him score and get his yards or whatever. Yeah, that'd be weird because that hasn't happened since training camp.”
Rice and Sanders playfully bantered about possible selections, with Sanders saying he wanted players on his roster who haven't been to many Pro Bowls.
“If you have five years or more, don't even worry about it I'm not going to pick you,” Sanders said. “Go play for Jerry.”
Rice said later: “You're trying to bait me — that's not going to happen.”
Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman received 552,600 votes by fans, the most for any defensive player. Houston defensive end J.J. Watt had just under 410,000 fan votes.
San Francisco is set to send eight players to the game for the second year in a row, though its players missed the game earlier this year because they made the Super Bowl, losing to Baltimore.
Kansas City's eight selections are up from six last year. The Chiefs are 11-4 this year — up from 2-14 last year — and the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs heading into a largely meaningless game for them against San Diego on Sunday.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Friday he has never been big on Pro Bowl selections.
“I'm happy for the guys when and if they make it. I'm proud of them for it,” Reid said. “But we don't get caught up in all of the individual accolades. (We're) just getting ourselves ready to play.”
Manning was one of five players selected from Denver, which has a shot at putting up the most points of any team in NFL history.
All but five teams had at least one player selected. Atlanta, Green Bay, Jacksonville and both New York teams had zero players selected.
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