Sensational comebacks have Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson headed for the Pro Bowl.
Also selected Wednesday to the NFL’s all-star game was Redskins rookie QB Robert Griffin III.
Manning missed all of the 2011 season with neck and back injuries that required several surgeries. He signed with Denver as a free agent and has led the Broncos on a 10-game winning streak to take the AFC West.
“I know there’s great players out there in the NFL, but there’s some great players on this team this year that deserve to go,” said Manning, whose 12th Pro Bowl selection is a record for quarterbacks. He is fourth in passing this season, with 34 touchdowns throws and 11 interceptions.
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Four other Broncos made the AFC roster: defensive end Elvis Dumervil, linebacker Von Miller, cornerback Champ Bailey and tackle Ryan Clady. Bailey’s 12th appearance is a record for defensive backs.
Minnesota’s Peterson tore up his left knee on Christmas Eve last year, had major surgery, then was back for the season opener. And he’s running away with the rushing title with a career-high 1,898 yards and lifting the Vikings toward an NFC wild-card spot
“Coming into the season after going through the rehab process, I just told myself that I wanted to lead my team to a championship and make sure that I contribute and do my part,” Peterson said. “I’ve been doing it.”
Griffin is one of three rookie QBs having a superb debut season, along with Andrew Luck of Indianapolis and Russell Wilson of Seattle. Luck and Wilson weren’t voted to the Pro Bowl by players, coaches and fans, although their teams are in the playoffs; Griffin can get to the postseason if Washington beats Dallas on Sunday.
“You can’t play down those kind of things,” Griffin said. “I’ve always said my whole football career that you don’t play for awards. They just come. You don’t say you’re going to win the Heisman. You don’t say you’re going to win MVP. You go out and you prove it on the field, and if everyone feels that way then they’ll give you that award.”
San Francisco had a league-high nine players selected, including six from its second-ranked defense. Houston was next with eight, six on offense.
Kansas City, despite its 2-13 record that is tied with Jacksonville for worst in the league, had five Pro Bowl selections, including RB Jamaal Charles, who like Peterson is coming back from a torn ACL. The Seattle Seahawks also had five players picked.
Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh, who has kicked nine field goals of at least 50 yards, was the other rookie picked.
The AFC kicker is at the other end of the spectrum: Cleveland’s Phil Dawson earned his first selection in his 14th NFL season.
Another record setter will be heading to Honolulu for the Jan. 27 Pro Bowl: Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
With a game remaining, Johnson has broken Jerry Rice’s single-season yards receiving record with 1,892.
A grand jury in Dallas County has formally indicted Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent on one count of intoxication manslaughter.
Brent is charged in connection with a Dec. 8 crash that killed his friend, Cowboys practice squad member Jerry Brown. He is out of jail on $100,000 bond.
District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Debbie Denmon said the indictment was returned Wednesday.
Police in the Dallas suburb of Irving say Brent was speeding when his vehicle struck a curb and flipped. Brown was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
Intoxication manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Brent could be eligible for probation. Denmon said no court dates have been set.
RAVENS ACTIVATE LEWIS
Linebacker Ray Lewis has been added to the Ravens’ 53-man roster, but the 17-year veteran will not play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Ravens had to add the 37-year-old to the active roster by Wednesday in order for him to be eligible for the playoffs.
He went on the injured reserve-designated to return list after tearing his right triceps on Oct. 14. He returned to practice Dec. 5.
The Philadelphia Eagles put starting QB Nick Foles (broken hand) on injured reserve and signed defensive tackle Antonio Dixon to a two-year contract. … Raiders quarterbacks Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor shared repetitions in practice, but coach Dennis Allen did not select a starter for Sunday’s game in San Diego. … The Cardinals will give QB Brian Hoyer his first pro start less than three weeks after claiming him off waivers from Pittsburgh. He’ll be Arizona’s fourth QB this season – Kevin Kolb is out for the season with a rib injury, and John Skelton and rookie Ryan Lindley were benched for poor play.