Three players from the Pittsburgh Steelers league leading defense
have been selected to the 2009 AFC Pro Bowl team, the NFL announced
on Tuesday. Those selected to the team are inside linebacker James
Farrior, outside linebacker James Harrison and strong safety Troy
Polamalu. Both Harrison and Polamalu have been named starters.
This season marks the eighth straight year that three or more Steelers
players have been selected to the Pro Bowl, which will be played
Feb. 8 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. The Pro Bowl squads were selected
by a combined voting of fans, players and coaches.
Harrison, a two-year starter for the Steelers, earned his second
consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl as a starter for the AFC squad.
He has already tied team records with 15 sacks and seven forced fumbles,
and was voted AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 11.
That week, Harrison registered a sack and forced a fumble that resulted
in a safety and also intercepted a pass, which he returned 33 yards.
He ranks third on the team with 93 tackles (68 solo) and leads all
Steelers with 33 quarterback pressures.
The Steelers’ 2007 team MVP, Harrison registered 2.5 sacks
and forced a fumble in a Week 4 Monday Night matchup against the
AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens, and registered two sacks and two
forced fumbles in Week 13 at New England.
Polamalu, who is widely considered the NFL’s premiere strong
safety, earned his fifth straight trip to the Pro Bowl and his third
as a starter (2006, 2007). A five-year NFL starter, this year’s
selection ties Polamalu with Donnie Shell for the most Pro Bowl appearances
by a Steelers strong safety.
Polamalu currently leads the NFL with a career-high seven interceptions,
ranks third on the Steelers with 10 passes defensed, and ranks fourth
on the team with 75 tackles.
Farrior will make his second Pro Bowl appearance, both as a Steeler,
and his first since the 2005 Pro Bowl, when he received All-Pro honors
and finished second in voting for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Farrior currently leads the Steelers with 127 tackles (86 solo),
putting him on schedule to finish as the team leader for the fifth
time in seven seasons with the Steelers (2003, ‘04, ‘06, ‘07).
Currently in his fifth consecutive season as the Steelers’ defensive
captain, Farrior has also recorded 3.5 sacks and recovered one fumble.
Pro Bowl Notes: The Steelers will send a linebacker to the Pro Bowl
for the seventh time in the past nine seasons and for the 15th time
in the past 19 years … The Steelers are sending multiple players
to the Pro Bowl for the eighth straight season and the 17th time
in the last 20 seasons … This year ends a streak of seven consecutive
years (2001 Pro Bowl) that the Steelers have had at least one offensive
player make the Pro Bowl.
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