- The Washington Times - Friday, December 20, 2002

Cornerback Champ Bailey and linebacker LaVar Arrington of the Washington Redskins earned repeat bids to the Pro Bowl yesterday, but offensive tackle Chris Samuels and defensive tackle Daryl Gardener fell short and were named alternates.
Bailey will make a third trip after rebounding from a below-standard 2001 season. He went to the Pro Bowl last year as an alternate when Troy Vincent was injured, but this year he returned to his level in 2000, when he became known as one of the game's top young cover corners.
"It means a lot [to be voted in again]," Bailey said. "Going in as an alternate is definitely not the way you want to go."
Bailey conceded it is "difficult" to enjoy the selection while the Redskins (5-9) finish out a sub-.500 season. The reaction of Arrington, who earned a second straight invitation, was even more muted.
"I don't really know how to feel right now," Arrington said. "I'm glad I made it. I'm glad I'm representing the city. I'm glad I'm representing this team. But you still can't help but to think about trying to have a better season."
Bailey and Arrington helped Washington stay in the top 10 in total defense despite a fourth coordinator in as many years. Arrington had a particularly tough time adjusting to Marvin Lewis, who challenged him to play defensive end in passing situations and not to freelance.
"I really appreciate the people who stuck by me and hung in there with me," Arrington said. "Everybody who did knows who they are. This Pro Bowl is for them."
Samuels failed to repeat last year's invitation, probably because of a rough start due to injuries. He battled ankle, groin and thigh ailments early, giving up two sacks in a Sept.22 loss at San Francisco and two more in an Oct.13 loss to New Orleans. But he has been impressive since sitting out the Oct.27 win over Indianapolis.
Gardener still doesn't have a trip to the Pro Bowl even though he had some dominant seasons early in his career in Miami and this year was named Redskins player of the year. He leads Washington defensive linemen with 61 tackles but has just three sacks, the glamour category that often defines Pro Bowl selections.
"I don't think I could have done any more," Gardener said. "In Miami, I put up some good seasons, some great seasons, and I'm still in the same predicament [of] being an alternate. I don't know what I have to do to get to the Pro Bowl. When you take my tape out and compare it to other defensive linemen, I think it's evident that I should be there."

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