Taylor makes NFL Pro Bowl after being killed in house invasion

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) ” Sean Taylor was voted to the NFC Pro Bowl team posthumously on Tuesday, three weeks after after he was shot during a burglary at his Florida home.

The Washington Redskins defensive back got a starting position on the team at free safety. He was having an outstanding season and was among the leaders in fan balloting for a team selected by a combination of fans, players and coaches.

Both conferences were dominated by players from the teams at the top of the standings. Seven teams had no Pro Bowlers, including Jacksonville (10-4) and all four in the NFC South, for the game to be played Feb. 10 in Honolulu.

Unbeaten New England had eight players voted to the AFC team, led by quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Randy Moss. New England linebacker Mike Vrabel made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his 11th season.

Dallas, tied for first place with Green Bay in the NFC, had 11, including quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Terrell Owens. Dallas dominated the fan voting, one major reason it had so many players on the squad.

One of the Cowboys, running back Marion Barber, is not a starter for Dallas although he leads the team with 871 yards rushing. That’s 315 more than starter Julius Jones, but is just seventh in the NFC. But Barber has 11 touchdowns.

The Packers had four players on the team, including Brett Favre, who will start at quarterback for the NFC. It is the ninth Pro Bowl for the 38-year-old Favre, his first since 2003.

San Diego, like New England, had eight players chosen. Minnesota was second in the NFC with seven, including rookie Adrian Peterson, who leads the conference in rushing.

Taylor is the only player known to have made an all-star team posthumously in any sport since goaltender Pelle Lindbergh made the NHL All-Star game in February 1986. He had been killed in an auto accident in November, 1985 after playing eight games for the Philadelphia Flyers, for whom he had won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goalie the previous season.

Before his death, Taylor was leading the NFL in interceptions with five.

One of those left off the team was Fred Taylor of Jacksonville, who has had four straight 100-yard rushing games.

Fred Taylor, who has rushed for 1,091 yards and has a 5.1-yard average per carry while splitting time with Maurice Jones-Drew, is the 18th leading rusher in NFL history, but has never been to the Pro Bowl. That makes him the only one of the top 43 rushers in history not to make it to the league’s all-star game.

Fred Taylor anticipated that last week.

“Whatever happens, happens,” he said. “They’ve got to tally up the votes, and however it comes out, I’ve got to live with it. I’ve always felt like I’m Pro Bowl-quality, so everything else doesn’t matter.”

In addition to the Jaguars, there were no Jets, Buccaneers, Saints, Panthers, Falcons or Lions. Tampa Bay is 9-5 and has clinched the NFC South and New Orleans remains in contention for a playoff spot.

The three backs chosen ahead of Fred Taylor were LaDainian Tomlinson of San Diego, Willie Parker of Pittsburgh and Joseph Addai of Indianapolis. Parker and Tomlinson have gained more yards than Taylor, but Parker is averaging 4.1 and Tomlinson, last season’s league MVP, is averaging 4.7.

Addai, one of five Colts on the AFC squad, has 1,019 yards rushing, 72 yards fewer than Taylor and an average of 4.1 yards per carry, a full yard less than the 31-year-old Jacksonville star.

Three rookies made the NFC team: Peterson, who is third in the NFL with 1,278 yards rushing and first among regular backs with a 5.9 average; linebacker Patrick Willis of San Francisco; and Dallas placekicker Nick Folk.

There are 18 first-timers on the AFC team, 11 in the NFC. Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden of Baltimore was voted to his 11th straight Pro Bowl in his 12th season.

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