Pro Bowl in store for Frank Gore, Larry Allen
Despite missing five games and most of another with a knee injury, Allen will be making the 11th Pro Bowl appearance of his distinguished 13-year career. Gore and Allen weren't the only 49ers recognized by the NFC. Eleventh-year veteran Walt Harris was named as a first alternate at cornerback and 13th-year veteran Bryant Young was named as a second alternate at defensive tackle. Both players could participate in the Feb. 10 game at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu if one of the players voted in ahead of them drops out of the game due to injury or any other reason. "It is a tremendous team honor to have Larry Allen and Frank Gore represent the 49ers in the Pro Bowl," coach Mike Nolan said. "Larry and Frank work extremely hard and are diligent in every aspect of their preparation. I think their selections today reflect the work ethic of our entire offense." But the Pro Bowl headliner for the 49ers is undisputedly Gore, who has burst onto the scene with one of the finest seasons ever by a San Francisco running back. The University of Miami product leads the NFC and ranks third in the NFL with 1,491 yards rushing. With two games remaining, Gore is 134 rushing yards ahead of his nearest pursuer in the NFC - Tiki Barber of the New York Giants - and he is just 79 yards away from Garrison Hearst's all-time franchise record for most rushing yards in a season. Gore leads the NFL with 14 rushes of 20 or more yards, and his 5.5 average per carry is the best among all of the league's 24 running backs who have rushed for 783 yards or more. Gore set a 49ers' single-game record with 212 yards rushing against Seattle in November, and his eight 100-yard games this season also is a team record. He has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week twice this season. As a member of the NFL's All-Decade team for the 1990s, Allen has long been widely recognized as one of the NFL's premier offensive lineman of today and in league history. After 12 standout seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Allen is making it to the Pro Bowl again in his first season with the 49ers. Allen has been an instrumental piece of a San Francisco offensive unit that ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt (5.0) and fourth in rushing yards per game (138.1). "Walt Harris and Bryant Young also had recognition as alternates and deserve to be mentioned," Nolan said. "They are the veterans and the leaders of the defense. The way they conduct themselves and prepare each day is a big reason why our defense has steadily improved throughout the season." Harris, also in his first season with the 49ers, has never played in the Pro Bowl. He has been one of the best free-agent acquisitions in the NFL this season, leading the 49ers with a career-high six interceptions, a figure that ties Harris for the NFC lead and ranks fifth in the NFL. Harris had a career-high three interceptions in a Week 5 victory over Oakland, and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for that performance. His strong performance carried into November, when he was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month, and he has shown no let-up this month, continuing to play strong to the end of the season. Harris also leads the 49ers this year in passes defensed and forced fumbles. Young previously has been named to four Pro Bowls, most recently after the 2001 and 2002 seasons. One of the most respected and disruptive defensive players in the NFL, Young's explosive combination of speed, strength, quickness and intensity have served him well in his 13 seasons with the team. In 2006, the defensive lineman has five sacks and 54 tackles. Currently, Young ranks third all-time in team history with 82.5 career sacks, the most among defensive tackles.
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