FOXBOROUGH — The NFL announced the rosters for this year’s Pro Bowl, and seven Patriots were among those chosen for the annual all-star game.
Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Logan Mankins, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, and Matthew Slater were recognized for their play this season.
Fan voting counts for one-third in the process, with coaches’ and players’ votes also counting for one-third each.
All of the Patriots players selected have been Pro Bowlers in the past, and all but Mayo were selected for the game last year. Mayo was last picked in 2010.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by my peers, the coaches and the fans, but it’s more of an honor to be one of seven of my teammates going to Hawaii, since that is a reflection of our overall success,” Mayo said in a statement released by the team.“We’ll all enjoy the recognition tonight with our families and be right back to focusing on the Dolphins in the morning.”
Brady offered a near-identical assessment:
“It is flattering to be selected, but I have always considered Pro Bowl recognition as a reflection of the team’s overall success. I am happy for my many teammates who were selected again this year . . . One day, I am sure I will have a greater appreciation for individual accomplishments, but this week my focus is simply on our preparations for Miami.”
Gronkowski, Mankins, Mayo, and Wilfork are designated as starters, while Brady and Welker are backups. There is only one player from each conference recognized for special teams play, and Slater got that nod.
Peyton Manning, who led all players in fan voting, is the AFC starting quarterback. It is his 12th Pro Bowl nod, and he was one of five Broncos named.
In his statement, Slater said special teams coach Scott O’Brien “pretty much changed my career with the way he teaches and coaches me” and also thanked Bill Belichick for taking a chance on him in 2008.
Mankins, who played the majority of last season with a torn ACL, has missed six games this season to injury but still was selected. Gronkowski has had to sit out the last five games because of a broken left forearm. Despite missing those games, Gronkowski leads NFL tight ends with 10 touchdowns.
This is the eighth time Brady has been a Pro Bowler; it is the fifth time for Mankins, Welker, and Wilfork, and second each for Gronkowski, Mayo, and Slater.
The Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 27, on the Sunday between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. Players from the Super Bowl teams do not take part.Shalise Manza Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.