Four Steelers named to Pro Bowl

A quartet of Pittsburgh Steelers were named to the 2007 AFC Pro Bowl team, which was announced by the NFL today. Two of the four Steelers were named to the starting lineup.

Pittsburgh Steelers earning Pro Bowl recognition for the 2006 season are: offensive guard Alan Faneca and safety Troy Polamalu, who will both start for the AFC squad, and nose tackle Casey Hampton and running back Willie Parker.

It is the sixth straight season that three or more Steelers players have been selected to the NFL's annual All-Star game. The Pro Bowl will be played Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Pro Bowl squads were selected by a combined voting of fans, players and coaches.

Faneca earned his sixth consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl and has established himself as a perennial All-Pro and arguably the best guard in the NFL. One of the team's offensive co-captains and leaders on and off the field, Faneca's outstanding blocking has helped Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back Willie Parker set career highs in passing and rushing yardage, respectively.

Polamalu, who is widely considered the NFL's premiere strong safety, earned his third straight trip to the Pro Bowl in as many seasons as a starter. Despite battling shoulder and knee injuries this season, Polamalu leads the team with three interceptions and ranks fifth on the club with 69 tackles (56 solo). However, it is Polamalu's unique and energetic style of play and his natural instincts that have made him difficult for opposing offenses to account for. He received First-team All-Pro honors in 2005 and was a second-team All-Pro selection in 2004.

Hampton will make his third trip to the Pro Bowl after previously being selected in 2004 and 2006. A six-year veteran, Hampton is the key to the Steelers' run defense that has allowed only one 100-yard runner in its last 42 games. Despite often facing two and three blockers on a regular basis, Hampton regularly dominates the line of scrimmage for the Steelers defense that has allowed only 90.4 yards rushing per game (fourth in the AFC and fifth in the NFL).

Parker earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl after already setting career highs in rushing yards (1,331) rushing touchdowns (11) and total touchdowns (14) in only 14 games. Parker, who has averaged 4.6-yards-per-carry this season, is the first Steelers running back to make the Pro Bowl since Jerome Bettis in 2005. He currently ranks third in the AFC in rushing yards. The last Steelers running back other than Bettis to make the AFC All-Star squad was Barry Foster in 1994. Parker's 1,331 rushing yards this season rank fifth in Steelers history. He needs 101 yards to move into third place on the team's single-season rushing list.

Pro Bowl Notes: During Bill Cowher's 15 seasons, 29 different players have been selected to the Pro Bowl — 25 were first-time selections — combining for 69 Pro Bowl trips. ... This is the 10th time in Cowher's 15 seasons that at least four players were placed on the Pro Bowl team…It is the 13th time during Cowher's tenure that a Steelers offensive lineman has made the Pro Bowl.


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