Manning, Rodgers among Pro Bowl starters

8:08 PM, Dec 26, 2012   |    comments
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New York, NY (Sports Network) - The rosters for the 2013 Pro Bowl were announced Wednesday and Denver's Peyton Manning and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers were named the starting quarterbacks for their respective conferences.

Manning will start for the AFC, while Rodgers will get the start for the NFC when the two sides meet at Honolulu's Aloha Stadium a week before the Super Bowl on Jan. 27.

The San Francisco 49ers led all teams with nine selections apiece, followed by the Houston Texans with eight.

One of Houston's eight selections was quarterback Matt Schaub, who will join New England's Tom Brady as the other signal-callers for the AFC, while Atlanta's Matt Ryan and rookie sensation Robert Griffin III of Washington will serve as backups on the NFC side.

Manning's 12th Pro Bowl selection seemed unlikely this time last year, as his career was put into question after numerous neck surgeries to alleviate pain and arm weakness forced the Tennessee product to miss the entire 2011 campaign.

Indianapolis, where Manning spent his first 14 seasons, parted ways with Manning last offseason before the 39-year-old signed with the Denver Broncos before the start of this season.

Manning has thrived in the Mile High City, throwing for 4,355 yards and 34 touchdowns with just 11 interceptions to help the Broncos claim the AFC West as they carry a 10-game winning streak into their season-finale against Kansas City.

Rodgers, the 2011 NFL MVP, is bound for his third Pro Bowl after throwing for 3,930 yards and 35 touchdowns with just eight interceptions.

Houston's Arian Foster will start at running back for the AFC, while Kansas City's Jamaal Charles and Baltimore's Ray Rice were also chosen for the backfield. In the NFC, MVP-hopeful Adrian Peterson, who bounced back admirably from a torn ACL in the final game of last season, will start at running back as he chases Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards. Peterson is just 207 yards shy of Dickerson's mark heading into Sunday's season finale against Green Bay.

The 27-year-old Oklahoma product will be joined in the backfield by Seattle's Marshawn Lynch and San Francisco's Frank Gore.

Detroit's Calvin Johnson, who broke Jerry Rice's mark for most receiving yards in a season with 1,982 yards this past weekend, will start at wide receiver in the NFC with Chicago's Brandon Marshall. Atlanta's Julio Jones and Victor Cruz of the Giants will serve as backups.

In the AFC, second-year sensation A.J. Green of the Bengals will start alongside Houston's Andre Johnson, while Indianapolis' Reggie Wayne and New England's Wes Welker were named backups.

New England's Rob Gronkowski will start at tight end, while Pittsburgh's Heath Miller serves as the backup for the AFC. Tony Gonzalez of the Falcons was chosen for his 13th Pro Bowl and will start for the NFC, while Dallas' Jason Witten serves as the backup.

Houston defensive end J.J. Watt is headed for his first Pro Bowl and will be joined by Miami defensive end Cameron Wake as the starting ends. On the interior, Cincinnati's Geno Atkins and New England veteran Vince Wilfork get the starting nod in the AFC.

Wilfork's teammate, linebacker Jerrod Mayo, will start in the middle, while fellow linebackers Von Miller of the Broncos and Tamba Hali of the Chiefs will join Mayo for the AFC.

Perennial Pro Bowler Ed Reed was named to his ninth Pro Bowl and will start at free safety. Kansas City strong safety Eric Berry will join Reed in the starting lineup, while cornerbacks Champ Bailey of the Broncos and Johnathan Joseph of the Texans will also start in the secondary for the AFC.

Baltimore's Vonta Leach will start at fullback for the AFC, while the tackles will be Cleveland's Joe Thomas and Houston's Duane Brown. Pittsburgh's Maurkice Pouncey will start at center, and the Patriots' Logan Mankins and Baltimore's Marshal Yanda start at guard.

The special teamers for the AFC are Kansas City's Dustin Colquitt at punter and the Browns' Phil Dawson at kicker. Baltimore's Jacoby Jones was named to return kicks, while New England's Matthew Slater will also be on the special teams squad.

For the NFC, Minnesota's Jerome Felton starts at fullback, while the offensive line starters include a pair of teammates, as San Francisco tackle Joe Staley and 49ers' guard Mike Iupati join Seattle tackle Russell Okung and Seahawks' center Max Unger on the offensive line. New Orleans guard Jahri Evans fills out the starting offensive line.

Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants joins Chicago's Julius Peppers as the starting defensive ends, while San Francisco defensive lineman Justin Smith and Chicago's Henry Melton will man the middle of the defensive line.

Aldon Smith (49ers) and DeMarcus Ware (Cowboys) are the starting outside linebackers, while Smith's teammate, Patrick Willis will start at middle linebacker.

A pair of Bears will start at cornerback, with Charles Tillman on one side and Tim Jennings on the other, while two 49ers will man the back of the secondary, as Dashon Goldson gets the start at free safety and Donte Whitner will start at strong safety.

The special teamers for the NFC are Saints punter Thomas Morstead and Minnesota's Blair Walsh at placekicker. Leon Washington (Seahawks) will return kicks, and Lorenzo Washington (Redskins) was also chosen on special teams.

Some of the noted players who were not voted in by players, coaches or fans include Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, who is currently appealing a suspension for PED use, wide receivers Roddy White (Falcons) and Vincent Jackson (Buccaneers) and rookie quarterback Andrew Luck of the Colts.

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