NFC Will Be Sappless In Pro Bowl

January 29 – Tampa Bay's Pro Bowl players flew out to Honolulu, Hawaii on Wednesday, but defensive tackle Warren Sapp didn't make the trip. Sapp, who played with a sore left knee throughout most the 2002 season, bowed out of the Pro Bowl in order to have knee surgery. Carolina DT Kris Jenkins will take Sapp's place on the NFC squad.

Tampa Bay's Pro Bowl players flew to Honolulu, Hawaii on Wednesday, but defensive tackle Warren Sapp didn't join his five Pro Bowl teammates on the flight to the site of the NFL's All-Star Game.

Instead, Sapp, who was selected to his sixth straight Pro Bowl last month, will undergo surgery on his left knee. He will be replaced by Carolina DT Kris Jenkins.

Despite playing with a sore left knee throughout most of the 2002 season, Sapp started all 16 regular season contests for the Bucs. He recorded 47 tackles and eight sacks.

This won't be the first time Sapp backed out of a scheduled trip to the Pro Bowl. Sapp missed last year's Pro Bowl contest in order to undergo shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.

Despite Sapp's last-minute decision, Tampa Bay will still have linebacker Derrick Brooks, safety John Lynch and defensive end Simeon Rice representing Tampa Bay's No. 1 ranked defense in the Pro Bowl. Bucs fullback Mike Alstott and quarterback Brad Johnson will also represent the Bucs on the NFC squad.

All five of Tampa Bay's Pro Bowlers arrived in Honolulu Wednesday and they are expected to practice with the NFC team on Thursday.

The Pro Bowl will be played in Aloha Stadium in Honolulu this Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET. The game will be nationally televised on ABC.

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