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Continued: Brilliant newcomers and seasoned stars make up AP's All-Pro Team

  • Article by: BARRY WILNER , Associated Press
  • Last update: January 7, 2012 - 4:02 AM

NEW YORK - Brilliant newcomers and seasoned stars. A winning blend for any team, including The Associated Press 2011 NFL All-Pro Team.

From Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to Lions receiver Calvin Johnson to Cardinals rookie kick returner Patrick Peterson, youth is well represented. So is veteran savvy with Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, Packers cornerback Charles Woodson and 49ers placekicker David Akers.

Fifteen players made the team for the first time in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL.

"It means a lot to me," said the Eagles' LeSean McCoy, selected Friday at running back along with Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew — both first-timers. "You think about all of the great players and running backs in this league and for me to be mentioned with them is an honor. It also means a lot to my teammates, guys that have pushed me all season long, coaches who helped me work on the little things and had faith in me to reach this accomplishment. And, of course, those guys up front did a great job all year. Those guys are beasts, man, it's easy to get big runs when your line is opening up huge holes for you every time you touch the ball."

It's difficult dealing with those guys as they run free with the ball, but safety Eric Weddle of San Diego did so well enough to be recognized as an All-Pro.

"I think it's overall consistent play," Weddle said. "I made a lot of plays on the ball, whether it's picking off a pass or covering my guy and knocking down a pass. I've tried not to give up big plays. It's just being sound in all phases and being an overall good football player."

Good — make that great — is represented throughout the All-Pro squad.

Johnson and Allen were the leading vote-getters, each just one vote shy of being a unanimous pick.

"That's sweet," said Johnson, who hauled in 96 catches for a 17.5-yard average and scoring 16 touchdowns. "That's one of the best honors you can have other than being a Super Bowl champion. To be an All-Pro is a tremendous honor."

Allen had 22 sacks, one-half short of Michael Strahan's league mark, to make his fourth All-Pro Team.

"This game, as much as it is a team sport, it's still very individual based," Allen said. "The best I can help my team win is to be the best individual defensive end I can be. You've got to have a selfish attitude to an extent, with the way you prepare yourself to help your team win games. But at the same time, if you don't have a successful team season, it (stinks). It makes that grind we all go through together that much tougher."

Nothing grinding about the year Rodgers has had. He easily beat Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints at quarterback, 47 1/2 votes to 2 1/2. Rodgers led Green Bay to a league-best 15-1 record this season, after taking the Packers to the Super Bowl title last February.

"I am a competitor," Rodgers said. "I care desperately about winning and doing everything I can to contribute. But personally, speaking for my own self, you learn exactly what you need to do to be able to balance the pressure from the outside with the pressure from within, that you put on yourself to be successful. Last year's run is really going to help all of us and our preparation through the week."

Peterson was the only rookie who made the squad. He tied an NFL mark when he ran back four punts for touchdowns, including a 99-yarder in overtime to beat the Rams.

"It's special to be the only rookie on the list and a nice way to end my first NFL season," said Peterson, a cornerback.

Another cornerback, Darrelle Revis of the Jets, was behind Johnson and Allen with 48 selections. Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs got 47.

One oddity: Both first-team guards, Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans, were from the Saints. That hasn't happened since 1953, with Detroit's Lou Creekmur and Dick Stanfel.

"That's a great honor and that's a long time since it happened," Nicks said. "I think this shows it's recognized that we are strong and physical and not just big guys. We are athletic enough to pass protect 45 to 50 times a game and keep Drew clean."

In the All-Pro backfield joining Rodgers, whose quarterback rating of 122.5 broke Peyton Manning's single-season mark, were Jones-Drew, McCoy and fullback Vonta Leach of Baltimore, who made it in 2010 with Houston. Jones-Drew was the league's rushing leader with 1,606 yards.

"It is a `we' thing, not a `me' thing," Jones-Drew said, praising his teammates on offense and his coaches. "The guys who don't get the glory and keep blocking all day, and the coaches who don't get enough credit, it's for them."

McCoy scored 20 touchdowns, 17 rushing, and was the brightest spot in a down year for the hyped Eagles. Yet ...

"There are so many things I can do better," he said. "I look at the numbers and see so many plays I left on the field, so many yards. I can perfect my game a lot more."

Record-setter Rob Gronkowski was the tight end. The Patriot set the single-season mark at his position with 1,327 yards receiving. Teammate Wes Welker (league-high 122 catches) was the other receiver.

Pittsburgh's Maurkice Pouncey was the center, with Philadelphia's Jason Peters and Cleveland's Joe Thomas at tackle.

Joining Allen at defensive end was Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants.

"It's a great thing, a great accomplishment, and hopefully I can get it in the years that come again," said Pierre-Paul, who had 16 1/2 sacks in his second pro season. "It's a great run. All due respect, people are respecting me now as a great pass rusher and I am getting chips and stuff. That's the kind of stuff I like, me being one of the main guys on my team that can make a play when people are counting on me."

The defensive tackles were Haloti Ngata of the Ravens and Justin Smith of the 49ers — who also placed third at DE; the 49ers used him at both spots.

I just go out and play where I'm playing," Smith said. "I let that all that other peripheral stuff just be that, peripheral."

The linebackers were Suggs and DeMarcus Ware of Dallas on the outside, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman of the 49ers and Derrick Johnson of the Chiefs on the inside. Bowman and Johnson tied with 16 votes, half of Willis' total.

Revis and Woodson were the cornerbacks, with Troy Polamalu of the Steelers and Weddle at safety.

Both kickers were 49ers: placekicker David Akers and punter Andy Lee. The 49ers led the way with five All-Pros.

"What it says is, a rising tide lifts all ships," coach Jim Harbaugh said. "So, we're happy for them."

Repeaters from 2010 were Polamalu, Revis, Willis, Ngata, Evans, Thomas and Leach.

In addition to Johnson, Rodgers, Jones-Drew, McCoy and Peterson, other first-timers were Gronkowski, Nicks, Peters, Pouncey, Pierre-Paul, Smith, Suggs, Bowman, Johnson and Weddle.

There were 16 players from the NFC and 12 from the AFC.

___

AP Sports Writers Dave Campbell in Minneapolis, Larry Lage in Detroit, Janie McCauley in San Francisco, Mark Long in Jacksonville, and Tom Canavan in East Rutherford, N.J., contributed to this story.

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Kansas City - J. Vargas 7:07 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 0 2nd Prd 13:18
San Jose 0
Boston 6:00 PM
Toronto
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Montreal
New Jersey 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Dallas 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Detroit 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Chicago 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Nashville
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Florida 8:00 PM
Arizona
Washington 9:00 PM
Calgary
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 31 4th Qtr 8:22
Colorado 21
Akron 21 4th Qtr 8:55
Ball State 25
Massachusetts 28 4th Qtr 6:15
Toledo 35
Ohio U 14 4th Qtr 5:46
Western Mich 35
Ga Southern 62 4th Qtr 9:33
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 4th Qtr 11:45
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 7 3rd Qtr
Stanford 28
Louisiana Tech 3 3rd Qtr
Southern Miss 7
(22) West Virginia 14 3rd Qtr
Oklahoma State 10
Michigan 3 3rd Qtr
(8) Michigan State 14
Boston College 17 3rd Qtr
Wake Forest 0
Central Mich 14 3rd Qtr
Buffalo 7
Fla Atlantic 16 2nd Qtr 0:00
(23) Marshall 14
(1) Miss State 17 2nd Qtr 0:23
Kentucky 10
Georgia Tech 28 2nd Qtr 0:11
Pittsburgh 14
Texas Tech 20 2nd Qtr 3:43
(10) TCU 31
Vanderbilt 0 2nd Qtr 4:13
Missouri 3
Old Dominion 16 2nd Qtr 10:19
Western Ky 28
UNLV 7 2nd Qtr 9:29
Utah State 10
Temple 0 1st Qtr 12:35
UCF 0
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 0 2nd Half
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 6:30 PM
New England
Portland 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 7 6:30
Toronto 15
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
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2014 preseason     
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