Chargers LT, Edwards snubbed

LaDainian Tomlinson and Donnie Edwards were denied entry into this year's Pro Bowl society on Thursday. The San Diego Chargers placed zero players into the Pro Bowl, indicative of their 3-11 season and nothing more. <br><br> Both players played in the Pro Bowl a year ago.

LaDainian Tomlinson, despite leading the league in yards from scrimmage with 2,011, was not selected to the Pro Bowl. Through 15 weeks this season, Tomlinson has 1,311 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. He is averaging 5.0 yards per carry behind a makeshift offensive line.

"I'll simply reiterate what I've said before, I think he's the best running back in the NFL," Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "It's very, very disappointing when you see the quality of performance that he has produced in every regard. I've had players that have been overlooked in the past, but never one that I thought was obvious as I thought this one should have been."

Tomlinson has also added 86 receptions, fifth in the league in that category, and is on pace to become only the second back in NFL history to eclipse 90 receptions and 1,000 yards rushing in a season. He has tallied 700 receiving yards and four touchdowns through the air.

Priest Holmes, Clinton Portis and Jamal Lewis were voted ahead of Tomlinson. All are premiere backs in the AFC and are having Pro Bowl worthy seasons. Holmes leads the league in rushing touchdowns with 22, Portis is second in the league in rushing with 1,591 and Lewis leads the league in rushing with 1,747.

More telling is the fact that each of the other three backs to make the squad placed at least one offensive lineman on the Pro Bowl squad. The Chargers did not have a lineman who was close to being Pro Bowl caliber.

"From my perspective, probably the most accurate way that I can express it is whether he makes the Pro Bowl or not doesn't define LaDainian Tomlinson," said Schottenheimer. "LaDainian Tomlinson is as fine a player as there is in the National Football League today. Whether he makes the Pro Bowl or not, I understand the frustration and disappointment, but that doesn't define LaDainian Tomlinson."

"I feel like I'm going to work my tail off harder than I ever worked before, and when I come back, I'll be MVP of the league next year," Tomlinson said.

As one message board poster (daniel19) on said when he heard that quote from Tomlinson, "I can only imagine what would happen if he worked even harder than he does now..."

Edwards, meanwhile, has 135 tackles on the season, good for third in the league, including eight behind the line of scrimmage. He has led or tied for the most tackles on the team in twelve of the Chargers 14 contests. He has also added one interception and forced a fumble on the 30th raked defense in the NFL.

Edwards not making the squad is more believable than Tomlinson getting snubbed. Each of the other outside linebackers had multiple sacks, forced fumbles, good statistical numbers in tackles and more game-changing plays on defenses that are in the upper half of the league.

On a defense without premiere talent, Edwards has been the steadying force. His leadership and heart this season has made the rest of the linebacking crew better as the season has progressed.

The 2004 Pro Bowl, the 25th played in Honolulu, Hawaii, will be played on Sunday, February 8.

Fans across message boards are similarly outraged by the snub, often using sarcasm to make the point as witnessed by the following post made by mondaymorningquarterback:

"Until LT can quarterback, kick field goals, and tackle on special teams AND defense, he won't be able to single-handedly carry this team and he is unworthy of Pro Bowl consideration. Just because he's the BEST running back in the NFL, doesn't mean he can carry the Chargers on his shoulders."

And another by 13and3:

"Why is everyone so surprised? Everyone knows the Pro Bowl has to do mostly with how your team does, your stats, and how big your mouth is. Holmes is about to break all the rushing records ever (a little of that has to do with his Pro Bowl O-line). Portis and Lewis are having great seasons also, and everyone knows they have two of the biggest mouths and egos in the NFL. So how would you expect LT, a guy who just tosses the ball to the ref after touchdowns, to make the Pro Bowl? Wake up LT!!! Come up with a freaking touchdown celebration or put on a ridiculous "world championship" belt around your waist and then maybe you can consider making the Pro Bowl. What is this guy thinking? Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous."

Tomlinson knows your frustration and if his words are any indication, he will be primed for a huge 2004.

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