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NFL announces 2002 AFC All-Star Squad

The Baltimore Ravens placed six players on the American Football Conference All-Star team that will meet the National Football Conference All-Stars in the 2002 Pro Bowl, the NFL announced today. The Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers each placed an NFL-high six players on the All-Star squads.

The Pro Bowl starting lineups will be announced on ABC-TV on Saturday, January 12 at halftime of the AFC and NFC Wild Card games.

The Pro Bowl -- the 52nd in the format that began in Los Angeles in 1951 – will be played for the 23rd consecutive year at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii on Saturday, February 9 at 11:30 AM HT. It will be broadcast live at 4:30 PM ET by ABC-TV and CBS Radio.

The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders will send five players each to the game, with the AFC Central-champion Pittsburgh Steelers sending four. Ten AFC players were selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time.

The 42-man AFC squad is comprised of 21 offensive and 17 defensive players plus four specialists. A 43rd "need" player will be chosen by the AFC head coach and must be a linebacker or defensive end.

The NFL is the only professional sports league that combines voting by fans, coaches and players in determining its all-star teams. The consensus vote of each group counts as one-third of the total. Each team submits two ballots -- those of the coach and the players with no one permitted to vote for a player on his own team.

This year, a record number of votes (43,957,135) were cast by fans on NFL.com and at more than 5,200 Blockbuster stores nationwide.

Three quarterbacks are named to each Pro Bowl squad. New England's TOM BRADY, who has won 10 of 13 starts this season, is the fifth quarterback since 1970 to earn a trip to Hawaii in the season of his first career start (DAN MARINO, 1983; BRETT FAVRE, 1992; KURT WARNER, 1999: DAUNTE CULPEPPER, 2000). Oakland's RICH GANNON, who led the Raiders to their second consecutive AFC West title, was chosen for his third consecutive All-Star game. Gannon (160 passing yards and two touchdowns) was the 2001 Pro Bowl Player of the Game. Pittsburgh's KORDELL STEWART joined Brady as a first-time All-Star after leading the Steelers to their first division championship since 1997.

Joining the quarterbacks in the offensive backfield are PRIEST HOLMES of the Kansas City Chiefs, JEROME BETTIS of the Steelers and CURTIS MARTIN of the New York Jets. Holmes earns his first trip to Hawaii while Bettis is a five-time All-Star selection and Martin a four-time pick. Buffalo's LARRY CENTERS, who leads AFC running backs with 77 receptions, is the team's fullback.

Baltimore tackle JONATHAN OGDEN makes his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl trip. The other tackles are from the AFC West – Seattle's WALTER JONES and Oakland's LINCOLN KENNEDY. Also on the offensive line are guards RUBEN BROWN of Buffalo, first-time All-Star ALAN FANECA of Pittsburgh, and WILL SHIELDS of Kansas City. Shields will make his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl appearance, Brown his sixth in a row.

At center, Tennessee's BRUCE MATTHEWS was selected to his 14th consecutive Pro Bowl. His 14 Pro Bowl selections are the most of any player since 1970. New York Jets center KEVIN MAWAE earns his third trip in a row to Hawaii.

Joining Ogden among the Ravens' AFC-best six Pro Bowlers are tight end SHANNON SHARPE, interior defensive lineman SAM ADAMS, inside linebacker RAY LEWIS, free safety ROD WOODSON, and kick return specialist JERMAINE LEWIS. Woodson was selected to his 10th All-Star squad.

Rounding out the AFC offense are Kansas City tight end TONY GONZALEZ, who makes his third consecutive appearance, and wide receivers TIM BROWN of Oakland, MARVIN HARRISON of Indianapolis, JIMMY SMITH of Jacksonville, and ROD SMITH of Denver.

Defensively, New York's JOHN ABRAHAM and San Diego's MARCELLUS WILEY are first-time AFC All-Stars at defensive end. Tennessee defensive end JEVON KEARSE earns his third Pro Bowl trip in as many career seasons.

Rounding out the defensive line are interior linemen TREVOR PRYCE of Denver and JOHN RANDLE of Seattle. Pryce earns his third consecutive trip to Hawaii while Randle is a seven-time selection.

Also among the AFC All-Star defenders are outside linebackers JASON GILDON of Pittsburgh, JAMIR MILLER of Cleveland and JUNIOR SEAU of San Diego. Seau will play in his 11th consecutive Pro Bowl. Inside linebacker ZACH THOMAS of the Miami Dolphins has been selected to his third consecutive AFC All-Star squad.

In the AFC's defensive backfield are cornerbacks SAM MADISON of Miami, DELTHA O'NEAL of Denver, and CHARLES WOODSON of Oakland, and strong safeties RODNEY HARRISON of San Diego and LAWYER MILLOY of New England.

On the AFC's special teams are Denver placekicker JASON ELAM, Broncos special teamer IAN GOLD, and Oakland punter SHANE LECHLER.

The American Football Conference defeated the National Conference 38-17 in last season's Pro Bowl. The NFC leads the series 16-15. The coaching staff will be from the AFC Championship Game runner-up team.

The selected players with the most votes at each position are the designated starters, who will be announced on January 12. Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each player on the winning team receives $30,000, while each player on the losing squad earns $15,000.

AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE ALL-STARS

AFC-NFC PRO BOWL, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2002, ALOHA STADIUM, HONOLULU, HAWAII

(* First-time Pro Bowl selection)

(Note: Starters will be announced January 12 at halftime of AFC Wild Card Game on ABC-TV)

OFFENSE

WIDE RECEIVERS

TIGHT ENDS

Tim Brown, Oakland

Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City

Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis

Shannon Sharpe, Baltimore

Jimmy Smith, Jacksonville

Rod Smith, Denver

QUARTERBACKS

*Tom Brady, New England

TACKLES

Rich Gannon, Oakland

Walter Jones, Seattle

*Kordell Stewart, Pittsburgh

Lincoln Kennedy, Oakland

Jonathan Ogden, Baltimore

RUNNING BACKS

Jerome Bettis, Pittsburgh

GUARDS

*Priest Holmes, Kansas City

Ruben Brown, Buffalo

Curtis Martin, New York Jets

*Alan Faneca, Pittsburgh

Will Shields, Kansas City

FULLBACK

Larry Centers, Buffalo

CENTERS

Bruce Matthews, Tennessee

Kevin Mawae, New York Jets

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