Brooks back to Hawaii; Smith beats out Reggie
Derrick Brooks is Hawaii-bound -- again. No shocker there.
But the bombshell of the day is Clifton Smith's inclusion on the NFC Pro Bowl team, announced this afternoon by the NFL. RB Smith, who was on the practice squad as recently as October, burst onto the scene as the team's kick and punt returner and will fulfill that role in Honolulu.
He makes the Pro Bowl roster by effectively beating out New Orleans phenom Reggie Bush, who is arguably the only NFC return man to rival Smith's accomplishments this season.
He returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown against Kansas City in his second NFL game, then added a 70-yard score on a punt return in Detroit two weeks later. Both plays helped the Bucs rally for come-from-behind victories. Smith becomes the second rookie in franchise history to make the Pro Bowl, joining Warrick Dunn (1997).
Brooks is headed to his 11th Pro Bowl after having a streak of 10 straight appearances snapped last season. Brooks made the squad as a reserve. The starters at OLB will be the Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware and the Bears' Lance Briggs.
Among the Bucs likely disappointed by their exclusion are K Matt Bryant, C Jeff Faine and MLB Barrett Ruud. Giants K John Carney, centers Andre Gurode (Cowboys) and Shaun O'Hara (Giants) and ILBs Patrick Willis (49ers) and Jon Beason (Panthers) were elected to the roster at those positions.
Click here for a complete list of the Pro Bowl rosters.