A perfect 10 for Henderson

Running backs Ahman Green and Dorsey Levens surpassed 1,000 yards seven times. Before that, Levens and Edgar Bennett formed a two-headed rushing terror.

Somebody had to be doing all of that dirty work.

That somebody would be fullback William Henderson, who finally was rewarded with the first Pro Bowl of his stellar career Wednesday.

Joining Henderson in Honolulu for the Feb. 13 game will be fellow first-timer Javon Walker, Green and guard Marco Rivera.

For the 10-year veteran Henderson, this will be his long-awaited Pro Bowl debut. Long considered one of the best lead blockers in the business, Henderson spent much of his career in the shadow of Tampa Bay fullback Mike Alstott. While Henderson was busy running over and shoving aside would-be tacklers, Alstott was getting all the glory as the featured runner in the Buccaneers' offense.

Henderson, who hasn't rushed the football in more than two seasons, has seen his role lessened this year with the emergence of Nick Luchey, who was signed as a free agent before the 2003 season. Luchey was supposed to have taken Henderson's job by now, but instead the ageless Henderson remains the hammer behind the Packers' running game.

"Somebody said it, ‘Sometimes, the long flights are the best flights,'" Henderson said. "I'm just enjoying the fact that this one finally arrived for me."

Henderson's selection was enthusiastially welcomed by Green and Packers coach Mike Sherman.

"I was more happy to hear that than to hear myself get nominated," Green said. "To hear him finally make one is sweet."

Added Sherman: "It was nice to see William Henderson get the opportunity to go to the Pro Bowl. He's certainly been deserving in the past, has contributed significantly to us this season as a leader, as a special-teams player, as a blocker, as a receiver. So I think the guys were honestly excited for him for this opportunity because he's certainly deserving of it.

Sherman toyed with Henderson while announcing the selections at the end of Wednesday's practice. Sherman rattled off the names of Rivera, Green and Walker, but not Henderson's.

"He read through the list, and he listed me in the alternate selections," Henderson recalled.

Sherman then said he had made a mistake, and uttered the words Henderson longed to hear.

"And at that point, I felt myself get toppled because Donald Driver and Ahman dived on me because they heard (my) name before I actually could hear it because I was at the back of the group," Henderson said. "At that point, I was like, ‘Wow. This is what it feels like."'

And a deserved honor. With Henderson holding off Luchey for the starting job, Green topped the 1,000-yard barrier for the team-record-tying fifth consecutive year. Throw in two 1,000-yard seasons by Levens, and Henderson is the only fullback in league history to lead the way for a 1,000-yard rusher seven times.

Henderson is the lone fullback on the NFC squad.

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