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Four Patriots selected to AFC Pro Bowl squad

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Quarterback Tom Brady, G Logan Mankins, WR Wes Welker and NT Vince Wilfork have been selected to represent the New England Patriots and the AFC in the 2010 Pro Bowl on Jan. 31 in South Florida. Mankins and Wilfork were selected as starters, while Brady and Welker were selected as reserves.

It is the fifth Pro Bowl selection for Brady (2001, 2004, 2005 and 2007), and the second for Mankins (2007), Welker (2008) and Wilfork (2007).

Mankins is going to his second Pro Bowl and first since 2007 when he became 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 fifth season with the Patriots since being selected in the first round (32nd overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft. He has started all 15 games this season and has never missed an NFL game, starting all 79 of his career games. Mankins is part of an offensive line that has allowed only 16 sacks through the first 15 games.

Wilfork earned his second Pro Bowl berth after helping the Patriots enter the final week of the season with the eighth ranked defense. Since being selected in the first round (21st overall) of the 2004 draft out of Miami, Wilfork has helped the Patriots defense finish in the top 10 on four occasions (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008). Since 2004, the Patriots own a 73-22 (.768) record in the regular season. Wilfork enters the final week of the 2009 season leading the defensive line with 65 total tackles. He had a team-leading 10 total tackles in a key 31-14 AFC East victory over the New York Jets on Nov. 22. Wilfork was selected by his teammates as a defensive captain in 2009 for the second straight season.

Brady enters the final week of the season with 4,212 yards passing and 28 touchdowns. He has thrown for 300 yards seven times, including a streak of five-straight games. It is his third season with over 4,000 yards and his fifth season with 25 or more touchdowns in a season. Brady's five seasons with at least 25 touchdowns are tied with Drew Brees for the fifth-most in NFL history. Brady became the Patriots' all-time leading passer in 2009 and also became the 31st NFL player to reach the 30,000-yard milestone. He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week twice in 2009 and was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for October.

Welker ranks first in the NFL with 122 receptions in 2009, a Patriots single-season record that eclipses the 112 he had in 2007. Welker broke the 100-reception total for the third straight season after catching 112 passes in 2007 and 111 in 2008. He joins Marvin Harrison (4), Jerry Rice (3), Herman Moore (3) and Brandon Marshall (3) as the only NFL players to catch 100 passes in three consecutive seasons.

Welker also set a career-high with 1,336 yards receiving so far this season. Welker and Randy Moss became the first Patriots players to have three straight 1,000-yard seasons.

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