Bucs Legend And Rookie Bound For Pro Bowl

December 16th, 2008
Clifton Smith and Derrick Brooks have won a trip to Hawaii for the 2009 Pro Bowl. They were the only two Bucs selected.

Clifton Smith and Derrick Brooks have won a trip to Hawaii for the 2009 Pro Bowl. They were the only two Bucs selected.

The votes are in from fans, players and NFL coaches, and Derrick Brooks and rookie Clifton Smith will represent the Bucs and the NFC at the 2009 Pro Bowl.

Joe salutes these guys who arguably are the best two stories on the Bucs this season, along with Antonio Bryant’s rise to stardom after sitting on his couch last season.

Bryant missed the Pro Bowl, as Joe predicted. The four wide receivers to go are Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, as starters, and Carolina’s Steve Smith and Atlanta’s Roddy White will go as reserves.

Joe thinks the Lions WR Calvin Johnson got screwed. But the guys named are all deserving.  

For Brooks, this will be his 11th Pro Bowl, after not making the team last year. He clearly played better than in 2007, despite a hamstring injury in September. Brooks made his share of big plays, and this election shows he still has the respect of coaches and players.

Obviously, Smith making the Pro Bowl as a kick returner is all thanks to the votes of coaches and players. Heck, lots of casual Bucs fans don’t even know his name. If you go back and watch the tape of the Bucs-Panthers game on Monday Night Football, it’s clear that Carolina was clearly kicking away from Smith all night. That was major league respect.

Smith, an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State, fumbled in his first four games and only played half the season. But busting two touchdowns on returns and winning NFL Special Teams Player of the Month in November will get you to the Pro Bowl as a returner, especially in a year when Devin Hester was slowed by injuries.

Joe believes Asante Samuels, of the Eagles, who made the Pro Bowl as a reserve cornerback, likely nosed out Ronde Barber for the spot with his interception and touchdown return at a critical point in last night’s Eagles-Browns game.

That will hurt Barber’s Hall of Fame chances. Joe is sure he’ll be on the fence for Hall induction when his career is over, and Pro Bowl appearances help get you elected.

Joe never watches the Pro Bowl – does anyone anymore? – but he’s always happy when Bucs are represented. Click here for the full 2009 Pro Bowl roster.

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