Outside linebacker Tamba Hali received a Pro Bowl invitation last year after Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison took a rain check so he could prepare for the Super Bowl. However, Hali followed Harrison's route by missing out on last year's Pro Bowl due to multiple minor injuries.
For Derrick Johnson, this will be his first Pro Bowl ticket since being drafted out of the University of Texas in 2005. I feel the wait was well worth it for Johnson, who has played under four head coaches, including Romeo Crennel, and three defensive coordinators. Johnson evolved into a complete linebacker since Crennel became the Chiefs defensive coordinator in 2010.
Hali ranks second among all AFC defensive players in sacks with 12. He is also tied for third in the conference with New York Jets defensive end Aaron Maybin for forced fumbles with four. Hali has led the team in sacks since 2008.
After falling short of getting voted into last year's Pro Bowl, Johnson finally earns his long overdue all-star bid. Johnson has 126 total tackles, already surpassing last season's total of 121. Johnson ranks fourth in the conference in tackles. He also has two sacks, two interceptions, one forced fumble and recovered one fumble this year.
I was expecting wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and cornerback Brandon Flowers to receive Pro Bowl honors. With the Pro Bowl now being played before the Super Bowl, several players end up having to miss out so they can focus on preparing for a more meaningful game and avoid risking injury. With the Chiefs eliminated from playoff contention, we can go ahead and guess who may sneak in after the AFC Championship game is over.
Flowers and Bowe both have a legitimate shot at sneaking in. For those disappointed, you may see them get that "second chance" invitation.
There are several players who skip the Pro Bowl due to minor injuries they suffered in the regular season, so other players who fell short of getting in may get a call a few days before the event.