The undefeated Carolina Panthers led the NFL with 10 players selected for the Pro Bowl on Tuesday.

The Panthers are two wins away from a perfect regular season. Quarterback Cam Newton was picked for the third time, and five of his teammates were first-time selections, including cornerback Josh Norman and linebacker Thomas Davis.

“It’s truly an honor to be selected to the Pro Bowl,” Davis said. “All the hard work and dedication I’ve put into the game has paid off. I’m extremely excited and I couldn’t be more thankful to the fans who took their time to vote me in, as well as my fellow players and coaches.

“To have 10 guys selected says a lot about our team. It says a lot about our fans and how highly they thought of us this season, and I think it says a lot about the way our season has gone. I’m excited and thankful to be part of the 10.”

Joining them will be center Ryan Kalil, who was picked for the fifth time, and linebacker Luke Kuechly, who earned his third selection.

Seattle, Arizona and New England each had seven players selected, and Cincinnati had five players picked.

Leading the way for the Seahawks was quarterback Russell Wilson, who was the only member of the offense picked. The rest of the selections were defensive end Michael Bennett, safety Kam Chancellor, special teamer Tyler Lockett, cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Earl Thomas and linebacker Bobby Wagner.

Patriots star Tom Brady was selected for the 11th time, most of any player this year. Among the other Patriots honored were tight end Rob Gronkowski and cornerback Malcolm Butler, whose last-minute interception clinched New England’s Super Bowl win over Seattle.

Raiders safety Charles Woodson, who announced on Monday that he will retire after the season, was selected for the ninth time.

Also selected was Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who has 91 catches for 1,396 yards and 13 touchdowns, tied for the league lead. Beckham was given a one-game suspension Monday for his conduct on Sunday against Carolina, when he drew three personal foul penalties.

Twenty-five players selected were first-timers, including three rookies: the Rams’ Todd Gurley, Lockett and the Chiefs’ Marcus Peters.


No more bats

A frustrated Ron Rivera will no longer allow Carolina players to bring baseball bats on the field before games even though he said the Panthers have done nothing wrong.

The Panthers coach said Tuesday he is upset about what he says are untrue reports that some players taunted Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham with physical threats and homophobic slurs before Sunday’s game.

Rivera said the Panthers wouldn’t stand for that behavior and the team found no evidence that occurred.

When asked if the Panthers hadn’t broken any league rules why he made the decision do away with the bats, Rivera said, “Because I’m going to hear it if I don’t. That’s the truth of the matter. So to avoid the situation and set of circumstances, let’s just eliminate it. ... It’s the No Fun League for a reason.”

Beckham has appealed the decision, and the NFL will hear the case Wednesday.

NFL disputes report

An ESPN report on the NFL reportedly withholding funding of a study of brain trauma and football touched off controversy when the league pushed back on the piece, calling it “not accurate.”

Citing “sources familiar with the project,” the Outside the Lines story, headlined “NFL backs away from funding BU brain study; NIH to fund it instead,” reported the league “backed out” of the planned seven-year, $16 million research project to attempt to diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in living patients. The study was to have been paid for by a $30 million grant from the NFL made to the National Institutes of Health in 2012. Instead, the NIH will fund the study itself.

The NFL, however, challenged ESPN’s report, saying the league’s $30 million grant was still available to the NIH and the decision to not use the NFL’s money to fund the study was made by the NIH.

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health confirmed that in a statement late Tuesday afternoon, noting its intent to use the NFL’s grant on a different project.

Packers lose snapper

The Packers will need to make a late-season adjustment on special teams after placing veteran long snapper Brett Goode on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury.