FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots announced the naming of five players to the AFC's 43-man Pro Bowl roster today. Special teamer Larry Izzo, cornerback Ty Law, safety Lawyer Milloy, defensive tackle Richard Seymour and kicker Adam Vinatieri will be the Patriots representatives in the Pro Bowl in Hawaii on Feb. 3. This season marks the eighth time in franchise history that five or more players were named to the Pro Bowl and it was the first time since 1997 that five players received the honor.
Izzo was selected to the Pro Bowl as the AFC special teams representative for the second time in his seven-year career. He also was honored in 2000 while with the Miami Dolphins. Izzo leads the Patriots and ranks fourth in the AFC with 17 special teams tackles this season. Earlier this year, Izzo recorded six special teams tackles versus Kansas City (9/22) and earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. It was the second highest single-game total in the NFL (according to press box statistics) since 1996.
"I'm definitely honored to be selected," said Izzo. "It's a reflection not only on me, but on this team and what our special teams have been able to accomplish this season. Any time you're selected by your peers, it's definitely a tremendous honor, but it's something that we can all take credit for."
Law was voted to the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive year and for the third time in his eight-year career. Law is tied for the team lead with both four interceptions and 10 passes defensed this season. He currently ranks second on the Patriots all-time interception list with 29, trailing only Raymond Clayborn. Law ranks fifth on the team with 70 tackles (55 solos).
"I think it's a great honor, being selected to go there and to be recognized as one of the three best at your position in the league this year," said Law. "It's a great individual honor, but I couldn't have done it without my teammates."
Milloy was named to the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive year and for the fourth time in his seven-year career. He trails only Hall of Fame cornerback Mike Haynes (6) for most Pro Bowl appearances by a Patriots defensive back. Milloy ranks second on the team with 81 tackles and has averaged 119 tackles per season during his career.
"Individually, you're always honored when you get acknowledged by your peers and the fans, but I'm mostly proud of being a representative of this team," said Milloy. "I've always tried to get individual accolades through the success of the team. I think the reason why we have five guys this year is because of what we did last year and there's a little more awareness of the Patriots. When you have team success, then the stars shine within that group."
Seymour became the first Patriots defensive tackle selected to the Pro Bowl and the first Patriots defensive lineman to be honored since Julius Adams in 1980. Former Patriots defensive tackles Houston Antwine (6) and Jim Lee Hunt (4) both earned multiple trips to the AFL All-Star Game during their careers. Seymour leads the Patriots with a career-high 5.5 sacks this season.
"I'm a young player and it's truly an honor for me, but I didn't do this all by myself," said Seymour. "I've had a lot of help coming all the way up through high school and college, with my coaches standing by me and also here, under Coach Belichick and Romeo Crennel, they've taught me a lot about defense. I'm still not the player that I want to be, so I still have some work to do, but this is a good foundation for where I want to go."
Vinatieri earned the first selection of his seven-year career and is just the third Patriots kicker to be named to the Pro Bowl. John Smith (1980) and Tony Franklin (1986) each received the honors once while with the Patriots and kicker/wide receiver Gino Cappelletti earned five trips (1961, '63, '64, '66, '68) to the AFL All-Star Game throughout his distinguished AFL career. Vinatieri is the most accurate field goal kicker in franchise history, as well as the fifth most accurate kicker in NFL history with an 81.3 conversion rate (182-224) over his seven-year career. This season he has totaled 99 points and is the most accurate kicker in the AFC with an 88.0 percent conversion rate (22-25).
"It's a tremendous honor and pleasure," said Vinatieri. "I couldn't have done it without the guys up front, Ken Walter and Lonie Paxton, my holder and snapper. All those guys up front, they've worked hard all year long and it's a great honor to be voted by the coaches, my peers, and fans. It'll be a lot of fun."
The full squads will be announced this evening on the 2003 Pro Bowl Selection Show on ESPN at 7:00 p.m. The AFC starters will be announced on Wild Card Saturday, January 4 at the halftime of AFC game and the NFC starters will be announced during the NFC's Wild Card game.