Quarterback Tom Brady headlined four Patriots who were named to the AFC Pro Bowl team tonight, providing another measure of validation for Brady in his return season from the knee injury that sidelined him for all but half of a quarter in 2008.
Guard Logan Mankins, wide receiver Wes Welker, and nose tackle Vince Wilfork joined Brady on the AFC team. Logan and Wilfork will start, while Brady and Wlker will be reservers. The biggest snub for the Patriots was Randy Moss, who leads the league in receiving touchdowns. The four Patriots gave them the fourth-most players on the AFC team, behind the Colts (six), Ravens (five) and Chargers (five).
Brady has passed for 4,192 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing 65.7 percent of his passes, all of which rank second in his career behind his historic 2007 season. Brady, a candidate for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award, made the Pro Bowl for the fifth time. He will not start at quarterback, as Peyton Manning gets that honor.
Welker has been the most prolific wide receiver in the league, catching passes at a higher rate than any player in league history. Despite missing two games with an injury, Welker leads the league with 122 catches for 1,336 yards, second in the NFL. Welker made his second Pro Bowl and is the only Patriot to make the game for the second straight year.
Mankins and Wilfork each made his second Pro Bowl. Wilfork has become one of the league’s elite run stuffers, and he put together his best season while playing with his contract situation for next season unresolved; in his locker, he hung a pen-and-paper sign that reads “Do My Job!” Wilfork has missed the past two games with a foot injury.
Moss, who has made the Pro Bowl six times, will not be joining his teammates in Miami. He leads the league with 13 touchdown receptions, three of which came Sunday against the Jaguars, and is seventh with 1,189 receiving yards. But Reggie Wayne of the Colts, Andre Johnson of the Texans, and Welker were selected over him.
Click here for the full Pro Bowl roster.