The National Football League announced on Thursday that the Kansas City Chiefs will be represented by eight players on the 2004 AFC Pro Bowl squad. Those eight Pro Bowlers mark the third-highest total in team history. Kansas City had 11 Pro Bowlers following the '71 campaign and 10 after the '70 season. First-time Pro Bowlers from the Chiefs include QB Trent Green, FB Tony Richardson and S Jerome Woods. Returning Pro Bowlers from Kansas City include G Will Shields, T Willie Roaf, TE Tony Gonzalez, RB Priest Holmes and WR Dante Hall, who will be the AFC's kick return specialist. Shields, Roaf, Gonzalez and Holmes all led the AFC fan voting at their positions.
The six Chiefs players on the offensive roster of the AFC Pro Bowl squad are the most in team history. The previous high was four offensive Pro Bowlers following the 2002 and '71 seasons. The annual AFC-NFC Pro Bowl will be played in Honolulu, Hawaii at Aloha Stadium on February 8, 2003. The complete AFC and NFC Pro Bowl squads will be announced at 6:00 p.m. (CT) this evening on ESPN's Pro Bowl Selection Show. Starters for the Pro Bowl will be announced on January 3, 2004.
"Needless to say, we are very pleased with the largest selection of Kansas City Pro Bowl players since '71," Chiefs President Carl Peterson commented. "I think it is excellent recognition for not only our players, but also our coaches and player personnel department who have been responsible for the acquisition and coaching of these Pro Bowl performers."
Green (6-3, 217) earned his initial Pro Bowl invite and is just the sixth quarterback in Chiefs history to be selected to an AFC-NFC Pro Bowl contest. He has completed 293 of 458 passes for 3,653 yards with 23 TDs and only nine INTs, good for a 97.2 QB rating. The leader of the NFL's top scoring offense, Green ranks third in the NFL with his 97.2 rating and is third in the AFC with 23 TD passes. The University of Indiana product recorded a "perfect" game vs. Detroit when he connected on 20 of 25 passes for 341 with three TDs for a 158.3 rating, joining Peyton Manning (IND) as the only other second signal-caller to post a "perfect" QB rating in 2003. He has started 46 straight games since joining the Chiefs in 2001, the second-longest streak in team history.
Over his last nine starts, Green has seven games with a 100.0 rating or better, completing 209 of 321 passes (65.1%) for 2,697 yards with 17 TDs and just three INTs. Those numbers translate into a 105.1 rating and a 5.67 TD-to-INT ratio. He joined the Chiefs in a trade with a St. Louis in 2001 after entering the league as an eighth-round draft pick (222nd overall) of San Diego in '93. Green was a three-time all-district selection at Vianney High School in Kirkwood, Missouri.
Woods (6-2, 210) was selected to his first Pro Bowl after returning from a broken right leg that sidelined him for all of the 2002 season. He is the first Chiefs safety to earn a Pro Bowl invite since S Deron Cherry garnered the sixth and final All-Star nod following the '88 campaign. Woods has produced 85 tackles (57 solo) and been involved in seven turnovers for the club this season. He has three INTs (125 yards) with two TDs, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. The Memphis, Tennessee native is one of only six players to return two interceptions for touchdowns in 2003. The eight-year pro has appeared in 109 contests (93 starts) for the Chiefs, amassing 647 tackles, 46 passes defensed and 15 INTs (282 yards) with two TDs. Woods was selected in the first-round (28th overall) of the '96 draft out of Memphis.
Richardson (6-1, 232) will be making his first trip to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl, making him the first Chiefs FB to represent Kansas City since Kimble Anders did it following the '95-97 seasons. Richardson has helped pave the way for fellow Pro Bowler Priest Holmes, who is just 51 yards shy of becoming only the third player in NFL history to record three consecutive seasons with 2,000 yards from scrimmage. Thanks to the blocking of Richardson and the Chiefs offensive line, Holmes has registered a franchise-record 22 rushing TDs in 2003.
The Auburn product originally joined Kansas City as a free agent in '95 after spending the previous season on the Dallas practice squad. In his nine NFL seasons, Richardson has appeared in 129 games (62 starts), compiling 373 carries for 1,489 yards with 15 TDs and 149 catches for 1,112 yards with eight TDs. The Frankfurt, Germany native racked up 162 carries for 715 yards with nine TDs in four seasons at Auburn.
Players making return visits to the Pro Bowl for the Chiefs include:
Shields (6-3, 315) will be making his ninth straight trip to Honolulu as a Pro Bowl performer, tying the late LB Derrick Thomas for the longest streak of Pro Bowl appearances in team history. Thomas made nine consecutive appearances following the '89-97 seasons. The ninth overall selection to the Pro Bowl ties Thomas, Pro Football Hall of Fame LB Bobby Bell and T Jim Tyrer for the most Pro Bowl or AFL All-Star game appearances in Chiefs annals. Shields has started 173 consecutive games, the third-longest active streak in the NFL, dating back to the second game of his rookie season in ‘93. Those 173 starts are the most in Chiefs history.
Shields and his fellow offensive linemen have combined to start the last 30 games at the same positions, the NFL's longest streak since the N.Y. Giants offensive line had a 30-game streak in ‘85-86. A third-round draft pick (74th overall) out of Nebraska in '93, Shields was a three-time All-Big Eight choice and a two-time All-America pick. As a senior Shields won the Outland Trophy as the nation's most outstanding interior lineman. He became the first player from the state of Oklahoma to play for the Huskers after an outstanding career at Lawton (Oklahoma) High School.
Roaf (6-5, 315) will be appearing in his ninth career Pro Bowl and his second as a member of the Chiefs. Roaf was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team seven times as a member of the Saints, but will represent the AFC Red for a second consecutive season. Roaf has started all 30 games for the Chiefs since coming to Kansas City and has racked up 161 starts over his 11-year career.
Roaf joined the Chiefs in 2002 via a trade with New Orleans, after originally entering the league as a first-round draft pick (eighth overall) of the Saints in '93 NFL Draft. The Outland Trophy finalist from Louisiana Tech was named to most All-America teams as a senior. The Pine Bluff, Arkansas native was an all-district selection at Pine Bluff High School.
Gonzalez (6-4, 248) will be making his fifth straight appearance in the NFL's annual All-Star Game. The only Chiefs TE ever selected to the Pro Bowl, Gonzalez joins Fred Arbanas as the only other Kansas City TE to earn a berth in the Pro Bowl or the AFL All-Star Game. Arbanas made five AFL All-Star appearances (‘62-65 and '67).
The University of California product became the all-time leading pass catcher in Chiefs history with 457 catches earlier in the season. Gonzalez leads the Chiefs with 10 receiving TDs and 797 receiving yards through the first 14 games of the 2003 season. Gonzalez's 60 catches in 2003 are tied for the most among NFL TEs while his 797 yards lead all TEs. He has caught a pass in 50 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in the team history and he has recorded 50+ receptions in a team-record six consecutive seasons.
In 109 career games (93 starts), Gonzalez has amassed more receptions (457) and receiving yardage (5,528) than any other TE in Chiefs history. He is one of only three tight ends to lead his franchise in career receptions. The Huntington Beach, California native joined Kansas City as the club's first-round draft choice (13th overall) in '97.
Holmes (5-10, 210) will be appearing in his third consecutive Pro Bowl, becoming the first Chiefs RB ever selected to three straight Pro Bowls, joining Christian Okoye as the only other Chiefs RB to earn multiple invites. Holmes leads the Chiefs with 282 rushing attempts for 1,315 yards (4.7 avg.) with an NFL-high and franchise-record 22 rushing TDs. That TD total tally is the third-highest single-season mark in NFL history and is just three shy of the NFL record of 25 set by Emmitt Smith in '95. No NFL team has produced more rushing touchdowns than Holmes' 22 ground scores in 2003. Holmes has scored 43 rushing TDs during the 2002-03 seasons, the highest total in the NFL during that span and the second-highest two-year total in NFL history. Smith (46) is the only player to score more rushing TDs over a two-year span ('94-95).
Holmes received 894,403 fan votes putting him second in the overall fan vote behind only Titans QB Steve McNair (896,189). Holmes leads the Chiefs with 67 catches for 634 yards (9.5 avg.) for the second consecutive season. He has scored 56 career TDs (51 rush, 5 rec.) with the Chiefs for the third-highest total in team history, while his 51 rushing scores rank first in Chiefs annals. In seven NFL seasons, Holmes has carried the ball 1,381 times for 6,587 yards (4.8 avg.) with 61 TDs. He also owns 287 catches for 2,505 yards (8.7 avg.) and six TDs in 92 games (63 starts). The Fort Smith, Arkansas native joined Kansas City as an unrestricted free agent in 2001. Holmes entered the NFL as a rookie FA with Baltimore in '97 out of the University of Texas.
Hall (5-8, 187) will be making his second Pro Bowl appearance as the AFC's return specialist after enjoying a record-breaking campaign in 2003. He is just the first Chief to earn two Pro Bowl invites as a kick returner and is only the second Chiefs player selected as a kick returner, joining J.T. Smith who was named to the AFC squad following the ‘80 season. Hall became the first player in NFL history to return a kick (punt or kickoff) for a TD in four consecutive games when he did it from September 14 – October 5th of this year. Those four kick return TDs for are tied for with seven other players as the top single-season total in NFL history. He leads the NFL with a 17.6 punt return average while his 26.3 kickoff return average ranks sixth in the NFL.
A fifth-round draft pick (153rd overall) out of Texas A&M in 2000, Hall has appeared in 48 career games (two starts) with Chiefs. As a collegiate running back, Hall finished his Aggie career with 4,707 all-purpose yards, the second-highest tally in school history. Hall was a high school All-American selection as a senior at Nimitz High School in Houston, Texas.