The NFL announced the 2013 Pro Bowl selections on Friday night, and New England had four players among the 85 recognized: QB Tom Brady, OG Logan Mankins, CB Aqib Talib and ST Matthew Slater.
This is the fifth consecutive time Brady has been selected, and his ninth overall, tying Hall of Fame guard John Hannah for most in franchise history. Despite numerous changes among the Patriots’ offensive skill players from 2012, Brady has led New England to its 11th division title in the last 13 years, and has 4,221 yards with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
This is also the fifth consecutive Pro Bowl nod for Mankins, and his sixth overall. The veteran has flashed his versatility in recent weeks, sliding from his customary left guard spot to left tackle in place of injured Nate Solder.
Slater earned his third straight selection. Despite missing four games with a broken thumb and constantly drawing double-teams, he is second on the Patriots in special-teams tackles, with 13.
This is the first selection for Talib, who has been hampered for several weeks with a hip injury. He was outstanding over the first third of the season and has been playing returning to form in recent weeks as he continues to recover. He has four interceptions, and under the terms of his contract, the Pro Bowl honor earned him a $500,000 bonus.
S Devin McCourty, K Stephen Gostkowski and PR Julian Edelman have been among the best at their respective positions, but they were not selected, though they could be named as reserves.
Pro Bowlers are chosen by fans, players and league coaches, with the vote of each group counting for one-third of the total.
Rather than have players split by conference, this year, the NFL will hold a Pro Bowl “draft” on Jan. 22, with Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders serving as team captains. They will select the players for their respective squads.
The Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 26 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. That is the Sunday prior to the Super Bowl, so any Pro Bowlers whose teams advance to the Super Bowl will not take part in the game.
The full list of Pro Bowlers:
Quarterback: Tom Brady, Patriots; Drew Brees, Saints; Peyton Manning, Broncos; Cam Newton, Panthers; Philip Rivers, Chargers; Russell Wilson, Seahawks.
Wide receiver: Antonio Brown, Steelers; Dez Bryant, Cowboys; Josh Gordon, Browns; A.J. Green, Bengals; Andre Johnson, Texans; Calvin Johnson, Lions; Brandon Marshall, Bears; Demaryius Thomas, Broncos.
Tackle: Branden Albert, Chiefs; Jason Peters, Eagles; Tyron Smith, Cowboys; Joe Staley, 49ers; Joe Thomas, Bronws; Trent Williams, Redskins.
Guard: Jahri Evans, Saints; Ben Grubbs, Saints; Mike Iupati, 49ers; Logan Mankins, Patriots; Louis Vasquez, Broncos; Marshal Yanda, Ravens.
Center: Ryan Kalil, Panthers; Alex Mack, Browns; Mike Pouncey, Dolphins; Max Unger, Seahawks.
Tight end: Jordan Cameron, Browns; Vernon Davis, 49ers; Jimmy Graham, Saints; Julius Thomas, Broncos.
Running back: Jamaal Charles, Chiefs; Matt Forte, Bears; Frank Gore, 49ers; Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks; LeSean McCoy, Eagles; Adrian Peterson, Vikings.
Fullback: Marcel Reece, Raiders; Mike Tolbert, Panthers.
Defensive end: Greg Hardy, Panthers; Cameron Jordan, Saints; Robert Quinn, Rams; Cameron Wake, Dolphins; J.J. Watt, Texans; Mario Williams, Bills.
Interior lineman: Gerald McCoy, Bucs; Haloti Ngata, Ravens; Dontari Poe, Chiefs; Justin Smith, 49ers; Ndamukong Suh, Lions; Kyle Williams, Bills.
Outside linebacker: John Abraham, Cardinals; Ahmad Brooks, 49ers; Tamba Hali, Chiefs; Justin Houston, Chiefs; Robert Mathis, Colts; Terrell Suggs, Ravens.
Inside/middle linebacker: NaVorro Bowman, 49ers; Vontaze Burfict, Bengals; Luke Kuechly, Panthers; Patrick Willis, 49ers.
Cornerback: Brandon Flowers, Chiefs; Brent Grimes, Dolphins; Joe Haden, Browns; Patrick Peterson, Cardinals; Darrelle Revis, Bucs; Richard Sherman, Seahawks; Aqib Talib, Patriots; Alterraun Verner, Titans.
Free safety: Jairus Byrd, Bills; Earl Thomas, Seahawks; Eric Weddle, Chargers.
Strong safety: Eric Berry, Chiefs; Kam Chancellor, Seahawks; Troy Polamalu, Steelers.
Punter: Brandon Fields, Dolphins; Johnny Hekker, Rams.
Placekicker: Matt Prater, Broncos; Justin Tucker, Ravens.
Punt returner: Antonio Brown, Steelers; Dexter McCluster, Chiefs.
Special teamer: Justin Bethel, Cardinals; Matthew Slater, Patriots.