- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2018

Three Redskins were named to the Pro Bowl back in December, but only one will actually play in Sunday’s exhibition in Orlando, Florida.

Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan will be the Redskins’ sole representative, as guard Brandon Scherff and tackle Trent Williams withdrew because of injuries. Scherff dealt with lingering knee pain throughout the year, and Williams had knee realignment surgery on Dec. 29.

Kerrigan’s appearance, by all accounts, is well-deserved. For the second straight year, he finished with double digit sacks, recording 13 this season. He was a sack away from breaking his career high.

Kerrigan did not play in last year’s Pro Bowl because of an injury, but he is good to go this year. One of the league’s most durable players, he hasn’t missed a regular season game in his seven seasons.

He’s been elected to the Pro Bowl three times in his career.

“One of the things I’ve learned is learn something new each offseason,” Kerrigan said of his ability to stay on the field, He said the key is “learning how to incorporate more flexibility, more soft tissue work into your routine.”

It was telling coach Jay Gruden only singled out the Redskins’ three Pro Bowlers when he spoke about players who had had “outstanding” seasons.

Gruden’s lukewarm praise for Kirk Cousins as the 7-9 season ended created headlines for a team entering the offseason with no clear answers about whether the would-be free agent quarterback will return.

Cousins was not selected for the Pro Bowl, not even as an alternate, despite throwing for 4,093 yards and 27 touchdowns. His performance tailed off in the final weeks of the season as injuries and losses mounted.

If there was a Redskin who was truly snubbed, it’s linebacker Zach Brown. After leading the NFL in tackles, he was initially announced as an alternate.

But even when the NFC team saw both of its originally announced inside linebackers — Carolina’s Luke Kuechly and Seattle’s Bobby Wagner — withdraw because of injuries, Brown was passed over again as Atlanta’s Deion Jones and Tampa Bay’s Kwon Alexander were named as replacements.

“I guess the respect level is still low,” Brown tweeted the day after the NFL announced the replacements. The linebacker had openly discussed his desire to make the Pro Bowl throughout the season.

Still, it will be much more interesting to see what the “respect level” will be between the Redskins and Brown in March, when he becomes a free agent.

Brown signed a one-year deal with the Redskins last offseason worth $2.3 million. He was a big difference maker in the Redskins’ run defense, filling lanes and making explosive tackles during the season.

Gruden told reporters this week at the Senior Bowl that contract talks between Brown’s agent and the Redskins have begun. Washington also took an important step Thursday in re-signing linebacker Mason Foster. Ideally, Gruden said he would like to have both of his starting linebackers back in 2018.

“[Brown’s] a guy that it’s hard to replace his type of speed,” Gruden told the team website.

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