Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Brooks, Clifton Smith to the Pro Bowl

By JC De La Torre

Last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not get one player picked to represent them in the Pro Bowl, eventually, Jeff Garcia made it to the game as an alternate. This year, Tampa Bay will be represented by two Buccaneers, weakside linebacker Derrick Brooks and kick/punt return specialist Clifton Smith will each make the trek to Hawaii for the 2009 Pro Bowl game.

For Brooks, its his 11th trip to the NFL all-star game 2nd all time among linebackers (only Junior Seau has been to more), while Smith, a rookie, will be making his first trip. Smith is an amazing story as he was cut by the Buccaneers in training camp and spent the first half of the season on the practice squad. Smith joined the Bucs after 2nd round draft pick Dexter Jackson had proven to be ineffective. Smith went on to lead the NFC in kick and punt return average while becoming the first Buccaneer to return a kickoff and punt return for a touchdown in the same season.

Some notable Buccaneers were not selected - including middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, Free Safety Tanard Jackson, and center Jeff Faine. Jon Gruden has also said repeatedly that if "Matt Bryant does not make the Pro Bowl they shouldn't have the game." Well, unfortunately, Bryant also was left off the list.
The Super Bowl Champion New York Giants and the NFC North leading Minnesota Vikings led the NFC with 6 Pro Bowl players.

Here's the entire NFC squad, alternates should be named in the next day or so.

2009 NFC Pro Bowl Squad (courtesy of NFL.com)
Kurt Warner, Arizona
Drew Brees, New Orleans
Eli Manning, New York Giants

Running back
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota
Michael Turner, Atlanta
Clinton Portis, Washington

Mike Sellers, Washington

Wide receiver
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
Anquan Boldin, Arizona
Steve Smith, Carolina
Roddy White, Atlanta

Tight end
Jason Witten, Dallas
Chris Cooley, Washington

Jordan Gross, Carolina
Walter Jones, Seattle
Chris Samuels, Washington

Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota
Chris Snee, New York Giants
Leonard Davis, Dallas

Andre Gurode, Dallas
Shaun O'Hara, New York Giants

Defensive end
Julius Peppers, Carolina
Justin Tuck, New York Giants
Jared Allen, Minnesota

Defensive tackle
Kevin Williams, Minnesota
Jay Ratliff, Dallas
Pat Williams, Minnesota

Outside linebacker
DeMarcus Ware, Dallas
Lance Briggs, Chicago
Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay

Inside linebacker
Patrick Willis, San Francisco
Jon Beason, Carolina

Charles Woodson, Green Bay
Antoine Winfield, Minnesota
Asante Samuel, Philadelphia

Free safety
Nick Collins, Green Bay
Brian Dawkins, Philadelphia

Strong safety
Adrian Wilson, Arizona

Special teams
Jeff Feagles, New York Giants

John Carney, New York Giants

Kick returner
Clifton Smith, Tampa Bay

Special teamer
Sean Morey, Arizona

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