While the contingent of Steelers players initially selected to play in the 2012 Pro Bowl dwindled a bit when SS Troy Polamalu (neck) pulled out, the additions of OLB James Harrison and FS Ryan Clark almost make it better.
It was announced Wednesday that Clark will replace Baltimore’s Ed Reed in the game, making it the first Pro Bowl appearance of Clark’s career.
Harrison has been to every Pro Bowl since 2007, though not being voted onto this one. He will replace 2011 Defensive Player of the Year, Terrell Suggs.
Clark led the league’s top scoring defensive team with 100 tackles, and had an interception and a sack. Harrison only played in 75 percent of the Steelers games this season, and finished the year with nine sacks and two forced fumbles – both were the lowest totals since he became a full-time starter in 2007.
The Pro Bowl isn’t given much validity anyway. Baltimore, losers of the AFC Championship game last weekend, had Suggs, Reed, RB Ray Rice and DT Haloti Ngata all pull out of the game for various reasons. Under the new format, which has the Pro Bowl played the weekend between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, many – if not all – of the players on teams losing the conference championship pull out due to injury, or, in Suggs’ case, due to an “undisclosed” reason.
Interestingly enough for Steelers fans, the one player many expected to miss the Pro Bowl due to injury is QB Ben Roethlisberger. He looked far from healthy over the last several games of the season, leading to a disappointing 29-23 loss at Denver in the first round of the playoffs. Since Patriots QB Tom Brady won’t participate (Super Bowl participants are excused from the Pro Bowl), Roethlisberger will start for the AFC in the Pro Bowl, with Phillip Rivers and rookie Andy Dalton backing him up.
The next replacement at QB in the AFC is Tim Tebow.
Maybe Roethlisberger is just not going to give Tebow the satisfaction of playing in a Pro Bowl.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
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