The NFL announced the Pro Bowl rosters Tuesday and the Seattle Seahawks are once again well represented with seven players being honored with invitations.
Quarterback Russell Wilson, cornerback Richard Sherman, strong safety Kam Chancellor, free safety Earl Thomas and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner were each invited back this season after earning Pro Bowl nods a year ago. For the first time in his career defensive end Michael Bennett was recognized, as well.
Rookie returner Tyler Lockett also was invited, joining star running back Todd Gurley of the St. Louis Rams (appropriately this week's opponent) and former Washington Huskies cornerback Marcus Peters (now with the Chiefs) the only first-year players to make the cut. Gurley and Peters were each first round picks, whereas Lockett was selected in the second round.
The undefeated Carolina Panthers appropriately led the NFL with 10 players being named to the Pro Bowl, including first-year picks Josh Norman and outside linebacker Thomas Davis. The Seahawks, Cardinals and Patriots tied for second in the NFL with seven players honored, apiece.
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE “I think regardless of what the season story is, I think that’s something to be appreciated by all of us," coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday when asked about the Seahawks sending seven players to the Pro Bowl after the team's poor start. "Those guys have been able to maintain. Those guys that are returning have been able to maintain the level of play to get recognized, and the first time guys like Michael Bennett and Tyler Lockett, to get in the first time for them, it’s interesting on different ends. Mike, later in his career, and Tyler right at the start of it."
"With gratitude, we take it," Carroll continued. "There’s a lot of guys in here that were responsible for that. Our players know that. The guys they work against every day, the standard that’s set that they perform at and practice at. Dealing with everybody that contributes to that, there’s just a lot of room for gratitude around here. It’s pretty impressive to have that many guys on the defensive side go and, of course, Russell [Wilson] to go again, that’s really cool. I think also the recognition that there’s five other guys too that got recognized as guys that could possibly wind up in the game. I know that came about. That’s exciting. Cliff [Avril] we know is having an extraordinary year, so he gets recognized really for the first time with Pro Bowl recognition. He would be great in that game, and he would show everybody that he belongs in all of that. It’s pretty exciting to see that.”
While seven Seahawks making the cut is certainly a testament to Seattle's success, wide receiver Doug Baldwin, outside linebacker K.J. Wright and punter Jon Ryan were snubbed by voters. Baldwin was named an alternate, as were Marshawn Lynch, Cliff Avril, Russell Okung and placekicker Steven Hauschka.
Wright, however, failed to get recognized at all, which surprised Carroll.
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE “Yeah. I thought K.J. [Wright] had it. He’s had a great year. He could have easily been recognized right there, and maybe it’s kind of the year that you set it up for the next opportunity. It’s kind of how that goes sometimes. I think Bobby [Wagner] did that a couple of years ago. He played so well and then he got recognized, and now he’s returning again. They’ve got to pick some other guys too, I understand that, but K.J. had a great season also.”
Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin will serve as alumni team captains for their Pro Bowl teams, which like a year ago will be drafted rather than simply play on the traditionally designated AFC and NFC teams. The draft will be on Jan. 27.
The Pro Bowl will be held on Jan. 31 in Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.
While it is quite the honor to be invited to the Pro Bowl, the Seahawks hope that none of their players will be able to participate and instead be focusing on the Super Bowl, which will be played a week later.