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Brady, Moss, Vrabel, Samuel named Pro Bowl starters

Seven New England Patriots were named starters for the 2008 Pro Bowl. They are:

Also, center Dan Koppen was named a backup.

Conspicuous by his absence is wide receiver Wes Welker.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys, whom the Patriots dismantled, have 11 players headed to Hawaii. I guess that tells you about the difference between the AFC and the NFC. But still, last year the San Diego Chargers had nine players selected. Now we have an unbeaten team that's clearly better than last year's Chargers or this year's Cowboys and they get just seven?

Where did I put that Respect Card?

The full rosters are available from several sources, including NFL.com.

Click "Read More" to read the official release from the New England Patriots

Eight members of the New England Patriots have been selected to represent the Patriots and the AFC at the 2008 Pro Bowl in Honolulu on Feb. 10. QB Tom Brady, C Dan Koppen, T Matt Light, G Logan Mankins, WR Randy Moss, CB Asante Samuel, LB Mike Vrabel and DL Vince Wilfork have all earned All-Star honors. The Patriots will send eight players to the Pro Bowl for the first time since 1985, and the team’s eight Pro Bowlers tie the 1985 squad with the most Patriots Pro Bowl players since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The Boston Patriots sent a team-record 11 players to the AFL All-Star Game on two occasions (1963 and 1966). Last season, two Patriots were named to the Pro Bowl (Light and DE Richard Seymour).

Moss has earned his sixth career Pro Bowl nod, Brady will head to Hawaii for the fourth time in his career, and Light is an All-Star for the second time. Five players are first-time Pro Bowl selections: Koppen, Mankins, Samuel, Vrabel and Wilfork. Seven Patriots will be among the 22 starters on the AFC Pro Bowl squad: Brady, Light, Mankins, Moss, Samuel, Vrabel and Wilfork.

Koppen, Light and Mankins comprise the first trio of Patriots offensive linemen to earn Pro Bowl honors in the same season since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The three All-Star offensive linemen tie a team record also achieved when Boston Patriots sent three offensive linemen to the 1966 AFL All-Star Game (C Jon Morris, T Tom Neville and G Len St. Jean). This season, New England has allowed just 17 sacks and is on pace to allow just 19 sacks this season. That would stand as the fewest number of sacks allowed in 30 years, dating back to a 17-sack performance in 1977. Additionally, the 2007 Patriots are averaging 4.0 yards per rush, a mark that has been achieved or exceeded by the club just once in the last 20 years (2004).

Tom Brady’s four Pro Bowl selections are the most of any Patriots quarterback, topping the three All-Star selections of Drew Bledsoe (1994, 1996, 1997) and Vito "Babe" Parilli (1963, 1964, 1966). The two-time Super Bowl MVP also earned Pro Bowl nods in 2001, 2004 and 2005. With two games remaining this season, Brady has thrown 45 touchdown passes - the third highest single-season total in NFL history. He also leads the NFL in passing yards (a career-best 4,235), completion percentage (69.2) and passer rating (119.7). Brady has set NFL records this season for most games with three or more touchdown passes (11), most consecutive games with three or more touchdown passes (10) and most touchdown passes in a month (20 in October). Brady has been named AFC Offensive Player of the Month twice (September and October) and has earned AFC Player of the Week honors four times.

Dan Koppen is the third center in Patriots history to earn All-Star honors, joining Damien Woody (2002) and Jon Morris (seven AFL All-Star Game appearances from 1964-70). The Boston College product is in his fifth season with the Patriots since being selected in the fifth round (164th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft. He has started 13 games this season and has played in 70 games with 69 starts in his career.

Matt Light is the only Patriots player who will return to Hawaii for the second consecutive season, having earned his first career Pro Bowl selection in 2006. Light is one of four Patriots offensive tackles to earn All-Star selections since the 1970 merger, joining Patriots Hall of Famer Bruce Armstrong, Leon Gray and Brian Holloway. The Purdue University product is in his seventh season with the Patriots since being selected in the second round (48th overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft. He has started all 14 games this season and has played in 95 games with 93 starts in his career.

Logan Mankins is the first Patriots guard to earn a Pro Bowl selection since 1985, when Pro Football Hall of Famer John Hannah went to his ninth career Pro Bowl. Mankins joins Hannah as the only Patriots guards to earn Pro Bowl bids since the 1970 merger. The Fresno State product is in his third season with the Patriots since being selected in the first round (32nd overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft. He has started all 14 games this season and has never missed an NFL game, starting all 46 games of his career.

Randy Moss is the fourth Patriots wide receiver to earn a Pro Bowl selection since the 1970 merger, joining Stanley Morgan, Terry Glenn and Troy Brown. He will return to Hawaii for the sixth time, having also earned All-Star honors from 1998-2000 and from 2002-03. With two games remaining this season, Moss leads the NFL with 19 touchdown receptions, a total that ranks second in league history to Jerry Rice’s record 22 scoring catches in 1987. He leads the league in touchdown receptions (19) and receiving yards (1,343) and ranks fifth in the league with 87 receptions. Moss’s 114 points scored lead the NFL among non-kickers. His 1,343 receiving yards are the second highest total in Patriots history, trailing only Morgan’s franchise-record 1,491 receiving yards in 1986. He has set franchise single-season records for touchdown receptions (19) and overall touchdowns (19) and set the franchise’s single-game record for touchdown receptions (4 on Nov. 18). Moss was the AFC’s Offensive Player of the Month for November and earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors on two occasions.

Asante Samuel joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Haynes, Ty Law and Raymond Clayborn as one of four Patriots cornerbacks to earn Pro Bowl honors since the 1970 merger. Samuel’s six interceptions this season lead the Patriots and are tied for fourth in the NFL. His 16 passes defensed lead the team and rank fifth in the league. Since the beginning of the 2006 season, Samuel leads the NFL with 16 interceptions (Champ Bailey, 13). In 2006, Samuel led the league with 10 interceptions and also topped the NFL with 24 passes defensed. He was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week following a two-interception performance against Philadelphia on Nov. 25, 2007.

Mike Vrabel is the seventh Patriots linebacker to earn a Pro Bowl nod since the merger and is the first New England linebacker to go to Hawaii since Tedy Bruschi earned the honor following the 2004 season. Vrabel is in his 11th year in the NFL and his seventh season with the Patriots. He leads the Patriots with 9.5 sacks this season, the second highest total among AFC linebackers (Shawne Merriman, 11.5). His 9.5 sacks tie his career high and tie the highest total by a Patriots player since Willie McGinest had 11.0 sacks in 1995. Vrabel leads the team with 14 quarterback hits this season and his four forced fumbles are twice as many as anyone else on the team. Vrabel was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week following a game against Washington on Oct. 28 in which he recorded three strip-sacks, forcing fumbles that were recovered by the Patriots each time. He also caught his second touchdown pass of the season in the game.

Vince Wilfork joins Richard Seymour as the only Patriots defensive tackles to be selected to a Pro Bowl since the 1970 merger. Wilfork has started every game this season as part of a Patriots defense that ranks fourth in the NFL in yards allowed per game (289.9) and points allowed per game (16.6). The 289.9 yards per game allowed by the Patriots this season are the fewest for the franchise since allowing 270.2 yards per game in 1979. Wilfork is in his fourth season with the Patriots since being selected in the first round (21st overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. The University of Miami product has played in 59 games with 49 starts in his career.