Asomugha, Lechler going to Hawaii

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is finally going to Hawaii with the recognition that's been long overdue. Asomugha, along with Oakland teammate Shane Lechler, are headed to the Pro Bowl as the only two Raiders players selected.

The NFL announced the rosters for the AFC and NFC on Tuesday with very few surprises, though Asomugha's selection counts as a mild stunner simply because of history. For the past several seasons Asomugha has been widely recognized by his peers and veteran league observers as being one of the top cornerbacks in the business but his talent and skills have gone widely unnoticed on a larger scale because of the Raiders lack of success.

Officially, this is Asomugha's second selection to the Pro Bowl. He was picked as an alternate in 2006 but didn't go to Hawaii after being notified late that a spot had opened up for him.

That won't happen this time. Asomugha has been chosen as a starter along with Tennessee's Cortland Finnegan.

"It's a dream come true," Asomugha said. "It has always been a goal of mine since I've been in the NFL, and it's one of the highest individual honors that you can get. It's another step in achieving my goals as a professional, and I'm extremely excited to go to Hawaii and represent the Raiders organization."

For Lechler, it's his second straight trip to the Pro Bowl and fourth in his nine-year NFL career. Lechler leads the AFC and is second overall with a 48.8-yard gross average and a 41.3-yard net.

It may also be Lechler's last trip to Hawaii as a member of the Raiders. A free agent at the end of the season, Lechler will be a valued commodity on the open market and may be of particular interest to the Dallas Cowboys. Lechler is from Texas and one of the Cowboys' weaknesses is at punter.

Oakland brought in a pair of punters last week and signed one, Ricky Schmitt, to the practice squad. Lechler was miffed that the team even had someone in for a workout, let alone signed. Making it even more baffling is that no one on the Raiders explained the move to Lechler, who was also bothered that the team conducted the punting tryouts during practice on a field adjacent to where the rest of the team was practicing.

Lechler proved his worth with his fourth Pro Bowl honors and said he's anxious to get to Hawaii with Asomugha.

"I'm glad I'm going to have some company over there with Nnamdi being selected," Lechler said. "I'm very proud of him and feel that it's been a long time coming, so it will be good for him to get his first one under his belt."

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