TAMPA — Bucs linebacker Lavonte David, snubbed last week when he wasn't among the five outside linebackers picked for the Pro Bowl, got a measure of redemption Friday as he and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy were honored as first-team All-Pro selections by the Associated Press.
"Almost like a dream come true," David said in a statement released by the team. "To be honored as one of the best of the best at your position is amazing. … I would like to thank God, first and foremost, for blessing me. I'd like to thank my coaches for coaching me and helping me develop to be a great football player. My teammates, for pushing me … all of those guys are like brothers to me, and I wouldn't be in this position without those guys."
In McCoy and David, the Bucs have their first All-Pro first-teamers since 2005, when linebacker Derrick Brooks got his fifth and final nod, and cornerback Ronde Barber got the last of his three first-team honors. It's the first All-Pro first-team honors for both players, though McCoy has made the Pro Bowl two years in a row.
"It's awesome," McCoy said in a statement. "This is a dream come true because making the Pro Bowl is one thing, but being the best at your position … you take the best two people at that position across the NFL, so to be considered one of the top two players at my position, that's what you work for, you work to be the best. You don't work to be mediocre or work to be just a guy, you work to be the best, and for the year of 2013, I accomplished that."
Darrelle Revis, who made the Pro Bowl in his first year with the Bucs, was not among five cornerbacks selected on the AP's two All-Pro teams. Former Bucs corner Aqib Talib, now with the Patriots, was named second team.
David was one of three first-team All-Pro selections who weren't among the initial 85 named to Pro Bowl rosters, along with Eagles guard Evan Mathis and Vikings return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson.
"I thought he got slighted and snubbed in the Pro Bowl, but I told him that he would be an All-Pro," McCoy said. "There's no way you could keep him off of that. He is one of the best outside linebackers in the NFL, if not the best, and that's what this list is showing. I'm glad he got the credit he deserves, and it's an honor to be on there with him."
The Bucs' two first-team selections were as many as any nonplayoff team this season, and only Carolina and Philadelphia, with three players each, had more selections in the entire league. The Bucs did not have anyone selected to the second team.
While the Pro Bowl gives a player a trip to Hawaii, the All-Pro team honors are more difficult to come by. The Bucs have had 82 selections to the Pro Bowl in the team's history, but they have been named to the AP All-Pro first team just 23 times. In the franchise's first 21 years in the NFL, the Bucs had just two AP first-teamers: defensive end Lee Roy Selmon in 1979 and linebacker Hardy Nickerson in 1993.