- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 23, 1999

Two Washington Redskins who ended last season injured and a third who played a different position were named Pro Bowl reserves yesterday.

Quarterback Brad Johnson, guard Tre Johnson and running back Stephen Davis were named NFC reserves for the 50th Pro Bowl on Feb. 6 in Honolulu. Fullback Larry Centers and tight end Stephen Alexander were first alternates and rookie cornerback Champ Bailey a second alternate.

Rosters were determined by fans, players and coaches equally, though players and coaches couldn't vote for someone on their own team.

The Redskins' second-ranked offense has scored 396 points the most since the 1991 Super Bowl season behind a balanced scheme. However, Davis has been the offensive core while often running behind Tre Johnson. Davis leads the NFC with a team-record 1,405 yards and the NFL in points scored by a non-kicker (104) and touchdowns (17).

St. Louis running back Marshall Faulk, who has 1,248 yards and nine touchdowns, was named the NFC starter at running back.

"It's wonderful, but it's because of my teammates," Davis said of his selection. "Without them, I wouldn't be able to do it."

Ironically, Davis is questionable against San Francisco on Sunday because he has a sprained ankle. He is considered a long shot to play, but his status won't be decided until game day, so Skip Hicks is the expected starter.

Still, it has been a remarkable season for the fourth-year player, who spent 11 games last season at fullback and gained only 815 yards with seven touchdowns over three years. Davis said breaking in slowly was instrumental in his success.

"I had an opportunity to sit back and learn and get ready," he said. "It really helped me a lot learning from Terry Allen and Brian Mitchell."

Said coach Norv Turner: "Stephen Davis is one of the great stories … if you just stay with it and work and believe in yourself and have the ability he has."

Mitchell said Davis is the team's most talented runner of the 1990s.

"Stephen's faster than any running back I've seen since I've been here," Mitchell said. "He runs the ball physically and wears people down. He has the toughness of Earnest Byner and the speed of a Ricky Ervins."

Tre Johnson becomes the Redskins' first Pro Bowl lineman since tackle Jim Lachey and guard Mark Schlereth in 1991. Healthy for the first time in three seasons, Johnson will finish with a career-best 16 games by playing the final two this season. He missed 14 games over five seasons with knee, ankle and shoulder injuries but reported to camp noticeably lighter last summer and changed his style from physical to finesse. The Redskins often follow the right guard on short-yardage plays.

"You want to be one of the best at what you do," Johnson said. "The fact that you can be the best of the best is a great honor."

Said Turner: "Tre had stretches [over past seasons] where he played like a Pro Bowl player, but injuries slowed him down. He's been consistent and had a Pro Bowl year."

Brad Johnson's choice at quarterback was a slight surprise after a recent lackluster stretch that has seen him throw 10 interceptions in six games. He's the NFC's fourth-rated passer (88.5) with a career-best 22 touchdown passes and 3,459 yards.

Johnson was hottest over the opening month, leading the Redskins to a 3-1 start with nine touchdowns and no interceptions. He was NFC Offensive Player of the Week after completing 20 of 28 for 231 yards and three touchdowns in a 50-21 victory over the New York Giants on Sept. 19.

Johnson, the second Pro Bowl passer in Turner's six seasons after Gus Frerotte in 1996 almost wasn't a Redskin. Washington traded 1999 first- and third-round picks and a 2000 second-rounder to Minnesota for Johnson, who missed 11 games last season with thumb and leg injuries.

Owner Dan Snyder was openly critical of the move before he assumed control in July. Indeed, former general manager Charley Casserly defended the February trade after losing free agent quarterback Trent Green to St. Louis, saying it would help the Redskins win immediately.

"It's pretty awesome the Redskins accepted me with open arms and we've had such a tremendous year," Johnson said. "[Making the Pro Bowl is] something that won't sink in until after the season."

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