Source: <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2285783" target="_blank">Associated Press</a>
<img src="http://www.bolttalk.com/images/gates09.jpg" alt="Antonio Gates" />
San Diego's Antonio Gates was the only unanimous choice to The Associated Press 2005 All-Pro team featuring four players each from conference leaders Indianapolis and Seattle.
The Chargers' brilliant tight end drew all 50 votes in balloting by a nationwide panel of sports writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL. Gates also made the team last year, with 32"½ votes.
He's joined by NFL Most Valuable Player Shaun Alexander. The Seattle running back, who also won the AP Offensive Player of the Year award, received 49 votes. And Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher, the Defensive Player of the Year, also was chosen on 49 ballots.
"This whole season was a blessing," said Urlacher, who rebounded from leg injuries in 2004 to lead the Bears to the NFC North crown.
Alexander made the team for the first time, while Urlacher was chosen for the third.
Peyton Manning was the All-Pro quarterback for the third straight time, getting 37 votes. He was joined by Colts center Jeff Saturday, defensive end Dwight Freeney and safety Bob Sanders. It was the first selection for Saturday and Sanders and the second for Freeney.
"There's no question the last three years have been the three best of my career," Manning said. "To do it three years in a row, I really take a lot of pride in it and I've some good coaching and some good help."
The other Seahawks were tackle Walter Jones, guard Steve Hutchinson and fullback Mack Strong. Jones made it for the third time, Hutchinson for the second, and Strong for the first.
"I came in and I had a bunch of 100-yard games real quick," Alexander said. "I felt like, gosh, I didn't feel like I was really running that hard. I went back and studied the film, and I realized it was because Mack would block his guy, and they would take that guy out because he had a migraine. And they'd bring in the backup, then the backup wouldn't really want to tackle me because he was worried about getting blocked by Mack."
No other team had more than two All-Pros. Denver, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, San Diego, Tampa Bay, Chicago and the New York Giants each had two. Carolina, Arizona, Buffalo, New England, Kansas City and Houston each had one. The Texans' kick returner, Jerome Mathis, was the only rookie selected.
"I would not have imagined having this good of a rookie season, but this is a great honor," Mathis said, "and I look forward to having a better 2006."
Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, who shared the AP Comeback Player of the Year honor with Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, received 44 votes. The other wideout was the Bengals' Chad Johnson.
Tackle Willie Anderson was the other Bengal on the squad. The Chiefs' Brian Waters and the Steelers' Alan Faneca got 18 votes apiece and tied for the other guard spot behind Hutchinson.
Tiki Barber of the Giants, the runner-up to Alexander for the league rushing title, was the other running back, his first selection.
Barber's teammate, defensive end Osi Umenyiora, made his debut as an All-Pro. So did San Diego defensive tackle Jamal Williams, but the other tackle, Richard Seymour, was chosen for the third successive year.
Urlacher's fellow Bears linebacker Lance Briggs made it for the first time, while the Buccaneers' Derrick Brooks was selected for the fifth time, the most of any of this year's All-Pros. Denver's Al Wilson was the second inside linebacker and also made his first All-Pro squad.
Joining Sanders in the secondary were Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey and Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber, Tiki's twin. Both Bailey and Barber repeated; Barber also made it in 2001. For Polamalu, it was his first selection.
"It's crazy, it really hasn't set in yet," Sanders said. "It's a weird feeling, like I really don't know what to say."
Along with Mathis on special teams were record-setting kicker Neil Rackers of the Cardinals and Bills punter Brian Moorman, both first-timers. Rackers broke the NFL's single-season field goal record with 40. He missed just twice all season.
In all, there were 16 representatives from the AFC and 12 from the NFC.