Philadelphia Eagles News

4 Eagles Among Heated Pro Bowl Battles

Four Eagles are among the top five vote-getters at their positions in **Pro Bowl voting**, including David Akers, Leonard Weaver, Asante Samuel and DeSean Jackson. Donovan McNabb is among the top six at his position, according to information obtained from the league office.

"I would rather find myself the week after playing in the Super Bowl," said McNabb, noting the outstanding play of his competition at quarterback, like Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Kurt Warner and Aaron Rodgers.

Being played the week before the Super Bowl this season, the Pro Bowl offers some of the NFL's best their opportunity to shine. However, with the change in format this year and change in venue -- the game will be played Jan. 31 at Dolphin Stadium in South Florida -- players would love to be voted in but would prefer to play at the same site a week later in Super Bowl XLIV.

"It's kind of different this year, because if I go to the Pro Bowl it means I can't go to the Super Bowl, and vice-versa," said Akers, a three-time Pro Bowl kicker.

Weaver agreed.

"If we're in the Super Bowl, it would be kind of painful to miss it," he said. "But at the same time, it would be a great privilege to be in the Super Bowl. I guess you have to weigh it in -- ring or Pro Bowl?"

Akers currently leads the NFL with 27 total field goals, ranks second with 118 points and third with 11 field goals from 40-plus yards. But he knows he has some worthy competition.

"It would mean a lot to go to the Pro Bowl at age 35, but the reality is there's a kicker for the Minnesota Vikings, Ryan Longwell, he's had a tremendous year too," Akers said. "(People will argue) 'This guy has been in a dome. You've been outside.' I've got a couple more misses than he's got.

"I think (Sean) Landeta said it great. There are always a couple of guys deserving of going, but they only pick one. It's just an honor if they choose me. I feel totally privileged to go."

Weaver's stiffest competition at this point appears to be Minnesota's Naufahu Tahi. Weaver has set career highs in rushing yards (249), total touchdowns (4) and rushing touchdowns (2). A former rookie free agent now in his fifth season, Weaver says a Pro Bowl bid at this stage of his career would mean a great deal. But right now, it's all about "one game at a time."

"It's something you can't really focus on while you're playing because you want to make plays for your team," Weaver said. "If you get the opportunity to do it, it's a blessing. Whatever happens, happens. May the best man win."

Samuel, who earned Pro Bowl honors following the 2007 and 2008 seasons, has certainly made his case for a return to the league's all-star game. He ranks fouth in the NFL with a team-high seven interceptions. Samuel also ranks second on the team with nine knockdowns.

"It always mean a lot. It means you're one of the top players at your position," said Samuel. "It's a prestigious honor that you always feel good about if you get it."

Jackson could figure into the mix as both a receiver and returner. At receiver, he is a mix of vote-getters that include Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, Dallas' Miles Austin, Minnesota's Sidney Rice and New Orleans' Marques Colston. Jackson's 18.9 yards per catch leads all NFL players with 20-or-more receptions. He also eads the NFL with a 17.8 punt returnaverage, which is also the highest average for a single-season in team history.

The one noticeable absence among the Eagles players at their position is Brent Celek, who ranks fourth in touchdowns (7) and sixth in yards (681) among NFL tight ends. Now in his third season, Celek trails the likes of Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez, New Orleans' Jeremy Shockey, San Francisco's Vernon Davis, Dallas' Jason Witten and Minnesota's Visanthe Shiancoe.

Fan voting for the 2010 Pro Bowl will conclude on Monday following the conclusion of Monday Night Football (New York Giants at Washington Redskins), so it's not too late to cast your ballot. Fan voting counts for one-third of the voting along with coaches and players votes.

The NFC and AFC teams will be announced at 4 PM (ET) on Tuesday, Dec. 29 on a special NFL Total Access 2010 Pro Bowl Selection Show on NFL Network.

One final word from Weaver: "If you think I'm the guy, please vote for me. It would be a blessing and I won't let you down."

-- Posted by Bob Kent, 8:35 a.m., December 20

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