No Pro Bowl, but how about a new contract?

Neither of the Packers' cornerbacks, Charles Woodson nor Al Harris, were named to the NFC Pro Bowl team on Tuesday. Pro Bowler or not, Harris should be paid like one,'s Steve Lawrence says.

Al Harris and Charles Woodson were left off the Pro Bowl rosters announced Tuesday.

Go figure.

They play for a pass defense that couldn't stop Jack and Diane's Day Care from passing for 200 yards and three touchdowns.

As the saying goes, though, there are lies, there are damned lies and there are statistics.

For your typical football player, who lives in a week-to-week cocoon and really hasn't a clue about anyone other than the handful players he's going to face that week, it's hard to get past those awful stats.

Same goes for your typical football fan, who only watches the ball and generally hasn't a clue what someone in the defensive secondary is doing if the ball's not heading his way on a particular play. Never mind that, aside from his hometown team, he isn't able to see other teams on even a semiregular basis.

So the Packers' top-notch tandem of cornerbacks won't be playing in the NFL's phony-baloney all-star game.

For Woodson to be left off the NFC's roster is no snub. Sure, those career-high six interceptions look awfully nice, but there's a reason Harris, not Woodson, attaches himself like static cling to the opposition's top receiver every week. Had Woodson gone to the Pro Bowl ahead of Harris, it would have been a bigger injustice than neither player getting the honor.

On the other hand, there's no getting around the fact that Harris is having a superlative season. After a couple of subpar games to start the season, he's been downright dominant. In fact, he found his stride right about the time defensive coordinator Bob Sanders decided Harris should shadow the opponent's No. 1 receiver on every play.

Should Harris have gotten the nod over Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber, Atlanta's DeAngelo Hall or Philadelphia's Lito Sheppard, the three corners who will represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl?

Beats me, and any layman who says otherwise – unless they spend their days and nights watching nothing but cornerback-receiver matchups instead of introducing themselves to their family and getting a breath of fresh air – is kidding themselves.

I can't sit here and tell you that Harris' work against San Francisco's Arnaz Battle or the Jets' Laveranues Coles or Miami's Chris Chambers or St. Louis' Isaac Bruce or Detroit's Roy Williams is more impressive than what Barber, Hall or Sheppard have done this season.

Nor can I say that maybe Chicago's Charles Tillman deserved the Pro Bowl nod more than any of them.

What I can tell you is Packers general manager Ted Thompson had better give Harris the new contract he covets.

Harris might not be a Pro Bowl player, but he's worthy. And in the grand scheme of things – other than the honor feeding Harris' ample ego – what's the difference?

While the scenarios are different, let's hope Thompson learned from the Javon Walker fiasco.

Thompson elected not to rework Walker's contract, and a case can be made that was the right decision at that time, given Walker was coming off a serious knee injury.

Nonetheless, the contract dispute quickly got ugly, and Thompson was forced to accept less than full value for Walker in a trade with Denver.

In Harris' case, there's the risk the 32-year-old Harris might begin showing his age sooner rather than later, and that contract could become dead weight on the Packers' 2008 or 2009 salary cap.

But it's a risk worth taking. Harris has gotten stronger, not weaker, as the season progressed. His superlative performance on Sunday against Detroit – which, unfortunately, came after Pro Bowl voting was complete – was just the latest case in point. Williams caught only one pass, and that was more linebacker A.J. Hawk's fault than Harris'.

 The Packers reportedly will be almost $30 million under the 2007 cap. If they sign Harris before this season is over, some of the signing bonus can be applied to the leftover 2006 cap.

The Packers have the money, and Harris has earned it. Thompson should get it done, because even if Harris isn't a Pro Bowler, he should be paid like one.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to Send comments to

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