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Some exceptions were overlooked

FOXBOROUGH -- The Patriots made more of an impact on the All-Snub team than they did on the AFC Pro Bowl squad yesterday. While four Patriots made the Pro Bowl, the exclusion of running back Corey Dillon, safety Rodney Harrison, guard Joe Andruzzi, and linebacker Tedy Bruschi was more noteworthy.

Taking part in the Feb. 13 game in Honolulu will be quarterback Tom Brady, defensive end Richard Seymour, kicker Adam Vinatieri, and special teams player Larry Izzo. Brady was somewhat of a surprise, making it over Pittsburgh's rookie signal-caller, Ben Roethlisberger, for the third spot behind the Colts' Peyton Manning and the Chargers' Drew Brees.

Dillon was edged out by Curtis Martin of the Jets, LaDainian Tomlinson of the Chargers, and Edgerrin James of the Colts. Dillon lags behind the three in receptions with only 12, though he has more rushing yards than Tomlinson, 1,430-1,254.

Tomlinson also has 48 receptions for 346 yards, and has scored 16 touchdowns. Martin leads the AFC with 1,511 rushing yards and has 14 TDs, while James has rushed for 1,464 yards. James also has 46 catches, while Martin has 34.

Harrison lost out to Baltimore safety Ed Reed, as expected, but also being selected were Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu and Denver's John Lynch.

Harrison is the Patriots' leading tackler with 124 and has had to play in a depleted secondary. Harrison has wondered in the past whether being overlooked has anything to do with his image as one of the dirtiest players in the league, and being the most-fined player in NFL history.

Lynch, of course, has carried a similar label for years, but that didn't stop him from earning his sixth Pro Bowl nod.

The Patriots, however, despite their success, have not normally placed a lot of players on the Pro Bowl squad. This year, the 13-1 Eagles had nine players named to the NFC team, while the 13-1 Steelers placed six players on the AFC team -- linebackers Joey Porter and James Farrior, center Jeff Hartings, guard Alan Faneca, wide receiver Hines Ward, as well as Polamalu.

The Pro Bowl nod meant a lot to Seymour, whose father died last spring.

"Throughout everything, I think I've stayed focused on the task at hand," said Seymour. "When things are tough, that's when you have to pick up your play or focus even more. I think I've been able to do that.

"I humbly accept any accolades that I get at this level. It's an honor first and foremost, to play in the NFL, and then to be considered one of the best, it's always an honor. I'm definitely excited about it."

Vinatieri, who has made 28 of 29 field goal attempts this season, leads the NFL with 127 points.

He said he never spent much time thinking about making the Pro Bowl, but admitted, "It's in the back of your mind. It's a great feeling and this is just a fun perk if you have a good season."

Vinatieri, commenting on Dillon and Harrison not being selected, said, "Not everybody that has a season that should qualify him gets picked, but I'll take those guys on my team any day."

Seymour, who leads the Patriots' defensive linemen with five sacks, said, "You look at our defense, I think guys like Harrison and Bruschi are guys that deserve it. I see the work they put in. Just to get snubbed, that's a bad thing. But at the same time I don't think it takes away from their play."

Izzo leads the team with 23 special teams tackles and has been a rock on what has been less than stellar punt and kickoff coverage units.

On second thought
Harrison was vociferous in pleading his innocence after being flagged for interference against Chris Chambers in the end zone Monday night, which set up a fourth-quarter touchdown for the Dolphins. But after reviewing the tape, Harrison said, "I got him a half-second before the ball got there and it was a legitimate call. That normally doesn't happen to me. I just lost focus on the receiver and lost him on the sideline since he was the outside guy. That was a mistake of mine. I made the mistake and hopefully I will get better and it won't happen again." . . . The Patriots brought back running back Rabih Abdullah, who had been waived after missing a special teams tackle Nov. 22, and wide receiver Kevin Kasper, who was waived Dec. 3. Two roster spots became available when the team waived linebacker Justin Kurpeikis and defensive back Omare Lowe on Tuesday . . . The team also worked out former Panthers cornerback Hank Poteat and ex-Titans wide receiver/kick returner Jake Schifino . . . The injury report continues to list Ty Law (foot) and Dexter Reid (leg) as doubtful, and Matt Chatham (hamstring), Randall Gay (arm), David Givens (ankle), Daniel Graham (rib), Bethel Johnson (thigh), and Asante Samuel (shoulder) as questionable. New on the list is Kevin Faulk, questionable with a knee injury, and Je'Rod Cherry, probable with an ankle injury . . . Left tackle Matt Light, who is extremely critical of himself, didn't think he played a good game Monday against Miami defensive end Jason Taylor. "I think I've only played one good game all year. Last year, I had about two," said Light. 

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