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Redskins linebackers Fletcher, Kerrigan to play in Pro Bowl
Redskins linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and London Fletcher were added to the NFC Pro Bowl roster Sunday after San Francisco's nine Pro Bowlers became ineligible for the NFL's annual all-star game.
The Redskins announced the news Sunday night following San Francisco's 28-24 victory over Atlanta in the NFC championship game. Kerrigan and Fletcher join injured quarterback Robert Griffin III, left tackle Trent Williams and special teamer Lorenzo Alexander as Washington's Pro Bowlers. The Redskins have five players named to the Pro Bowl for the first time since 1996.
It is Fletcher's fourth consecutive Pro Bowl nomination and Kerrigan's first. Fletcher replaces 49ers inside linebacker Patrick Willis, and Kerrigan replaces outside linebacker Aldon Smith.Fletcher's five interceptions led all NFL linebackers.
The 37-year-old played through a sprained left ankle for almost all of the season-ending seven-game winning streak. He has been an alternate for each of his Pro Bowl appearances.
Kerrigan, in his second NFL season led, the Redskins with 8.5 sacks.
He also had an interception, which he returned 28 yards for a touchdown.
He had 42 tackles and broke up eight passes, according to NFL statisticians.
Kerrigan was highly critical of his pass-rushing throughout the season, saying he had to be more effective. Offenses paid him more attention after outside linebacker Brian Orakpo suffered a season-ending left pectoral muscle tear, but he also faced many one-on-one blocks during that time.
Kerrigan had two sacks and a forced fumble in the Redskins' victory over Philadelphia in the penultimate game of the season.
Redskins coaches praised his physicality over tight ends and his ability to set the edge against the run.
Fletcher's and Kerrigan's nomination means three of the Redskins' four starting linebackers have a Pro Bowl on their resumes. Orakpo went in 2009 and 2010. Alexander also is a linebacker.
Rookie running back Alfred Morris still is not named to the Pro Bowl. Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin, the NFC's first alternate, took the roster spot of San Francisco's Frank Gore. Morris was a second alternate to the game.
Griffin will not play in the game because he is recovering from surgery to revise the ACL reconstruction in his right knee. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees took his roster spot.
The Pro Bowl is Jan. 27 in Honolulu. Because it is the week before the Super Bowl, players whose team makes the Super Bowl do no play in the game.
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