Eshmont winner Parrish robbed in Pro Bowl voting

The Pro Bowl voters almost got it right this year when it came to the 49ers. Almost. But conspicuously missing from the list of six Niners headed to the AFC-NFC All-Star Game is safety Tony Parrish, who might have been the most deserving San Francisco defender of all.

Parrish is third in the NFC with five interceptions and also is among the league leaders with two fumble recoveries. His 12 passes defended leads the 49ers, and his leadership qualities and courageous play through injuries has been instrumental in keeping together a San Francisco secondary ravaged by injuries.

His value to the team is no secret to the Niners. Even though this is his first season in San Francisco, Parrish's teammates voted him as the recipient of the team's Ed Block Award and Len Eshmont Award, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a 49er by his teammates.

The Niners otherwise had a strong contingent of Pro Bowlers, including third-year linebacker Julian Peterson, who will be going to Hawaii for the first time. Defensive tackle Bryant Young, quarterback Jeff Garcia, receiver Terrell Owens, offensive guard Ron Stone and center Jeremy Newberry are repeat Pro Bowl selections.

Peterson, realizing his potential this year after two injury-plagued seasons, had several high-profile games this season and played four positions in a recent victory over Dallas. There has been a lot of light shed on the flashy linebacker this year, but he backs that up with solid all-around numbers that display his impact and versatility. Peterson is second on the team with 93 tackles and has two sacks, two forced fumbles, one interception and five passes defended.

Young, who is having statistically the poorest season of his nine-year career, nonetheless made his fourth Pro Bowl, an indication of the impact he has in the defensive middle even when he is not recording tackles and sacks.

Garcia and Owens each made it for the third consecutive season. Owens is an obvious choice - he leads the NFC in receptions, yards and touchdowns - and Garcia's selection indicated the respect he now is being accorded throughout the conference, since he had plenty of competition from other quarterbacks having fine seasons for playoff contenders.

Stone, making the Pro Bowl for the first time with the Niners after two trips with the New York Giants, and Newberry both will be joining the NFC team in Honolulu for the second consecutive season. They are the anchors of one of the NFL's top lines, and were obvious choices at their positions.

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