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Hawaii Six-Oh!

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.chargers.com/news/headline_detail.cfm?news_key=2489" target="_blank">Chargers.com</a>

    <img src="http://bolttalk.com/images/probowl01.jpg" alt="LT and Brees at the Pro Bowl" />

    By Casey Pearce

    When the NFL announced it's Pro Bowl selections Wednesday afternoon, the list of Chargers invited included the expected as well as a couple of pleasant surprises. A total of six Bolts will take postseason vacations to Hawaii thanks to their peers, coaches and fans.

    As anticipated, running back LaDainian Tomlinson will make his third Pro Bowl appearance in five years. His 19 touchdowns are the second-highest mark in the NFL and with 1,323 rushing yards, LT became the third player in league history to log at least 1,200 yards on the ground in each of his first five seasons.

    "Every year it's special. Every year it's exciting," Tomlinson said. "The thing that makes me really happy is that a bunch of my teammates are going with me. That's going to make this trip even more fun than the first two."

    Tight end Antonio Gates will say "aloha" for the second consecutive year. Gates leads all NFL tight ends in receptions (82) as well as receiving yards (1,026). His nine touchdown catches are tied for fourth-best in the league.

    As it turns out, Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer has been working in American football for the last three decades. On Monday, Schottenheimer said that if defensive tackle Jamal Williams didn't make the Pro Bowl, "Then I've been coaching rugby for the last 30 years."

    While many feel that Williams has deserved the honor in years past, the eighth-year pro will make his first trip to the Pro Bowl. Williams anchors the NFL's top-ranked run defense and leads all Chargers linemen with 44 tackles on the year. He's also knocked down four passes at the line of scrimmage.

    "When I told the players who made it, I saved Jamal's name for last," Schottenheimer said. "He's worked so hard for so long. We're all thrilled for him."

    Tomlinson isn't the only Chargers running back to receive an invitation. Fullback Lorenzo Neal earned his second Pro Bowl berth of his career. For the ninth-consecutive season, Neal paved the way for a 1,000-yard rusher. His selfless attitude and veteran leadership have been invaluable in the Chargers' locker room as well.

    Tomlinson said that he and Neal will split the bill to send running backs coach Clarence Shelmon on vacation with them.

    "Both of us are goign," Tomlinson said. "What more can you ask for from a position coach?"

    It's rare that a rookie earns a trip to the Pro Bowl, but Shawne Merriman's immediate impact on the NFL allowed him to do just that. "Lights Out" becomes the first rookie to make a Pro Bowl since Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey did so in 2002. Merriman's nine sacks lead the Chargers and are best among NFL rookies.

    "I'm speechless," Merriman said through tears after Schottenheimer's announcement. "It's just a tremendous honor. It was definitely a goal of mine to go to a bunch of them before my career ended, but to get to go as a rookie makes it even more special."

    The Chargers will be represented in all three phases of the game at the February 12 contest. Hanik Milligan's team-high 21 tackles in the kicking game allowed him to claim the AFC's special teams spot.

    The six selections are the most chosen since seven players were voted to the team following the 1982 season. The most players ever chosen from one season is eight following the 1980 season.

    However, there is a chance that as many as eight Chargers will participate in the Pro Bowl. Two other Chargers – quarterback Drew Brees and punter Mike Scifres – finished as first and second alternates, respectively, in the voting and will join the squad should the players selected be unable to participate due to injury.

    Injury Update

    Strong safety Terrence Kiel (ankle) will not play against the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday. He and wide reciever Eric Parker (foot) were the only two Chargers that missed Wednesday's practice. Parker worked on the side with the athletic training staff and did better than expected. He's listed as questionable and has an outside shot of playing this weekend.

    Free safety Bhawoh Jue (knee) was back on the field after missing last week. Jue is questionable, as are Tomlinson (chest) and linebacker Matt Wilhelm (shoulder).
     

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