TAMPA — Bucs LB Lavonte David was among the biggest Pro Bowl snubs again this year, earning mention only as a first alternate.
His teammate, DT Gerald McCoy, who is making his fourth straight trip to the NFL all-star game in Hawaii, can't take it anymore.
David, 25, was an All-Pro in 2013 and generally considered one of the best linebackers in the game, but the fourth-year player never has been chosen for the Pro Bowl, in part because of a flaw in the balloting system.
The Patriots' Jamie Collins and Panthers' Thomas Davis are the only true 4-3 outside linebackers named to the team. The Chiefs' Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, along with the Broncos' Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, would play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme because they are primarily edge pass rushers. But because they play in 3-4 schemes, they are considered outside linebackers for ballot purposes and were named to the Pro Bowl.
"I've got to speak up about something. I think it's terrible what's happening to Lavonte right now," McCoy said. "He's easily the best at what he does. He's had a million tackles, three picks, one for a touchdown, forced fumbles, two sacks — I mean, he's been the most dominant at his position probably since 2013. It's got to stop. It's very unfair what's happening to him and seriously, if I could trade places with him, I would. He more than deserves to be in the Pro Bowl. I believe he will be an All-Pro. But what's happening to him is unfair."
McCoy said he is not taking anything away from the players who made the team this season, he just believes it should've been at another position.
"Everybody works hard to get where they're at, but the system is flawed, man," McCoy said.
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said whether it was recognized or not, David had a Pro Bowl-caliber season.
"I'm a little mixed on how they define the linebacker position," Frazier said. "So many of the guys who are deemed outside linebackers are really rush ends. It is a snub. He's had a Pro Bowl year and should be recognized for it."
Coach Lovie Smith concurred. "Derrick Brooks had to break into that. Lance Briggs (who Smith coached with the Bears) had to break into that," Smith said. "And eventually, people will take notice and see that Lavonte David is about as good of an outside linebacker as there is around."
Familiar for Mankins: Logan Mankins has been to six Pro Bowls. The veteran guard could make it seven, having been named a first alternate Tuesday. At 32, he is grateful to be recognized for his play. "It's always good to be recognized for having a good season, and that always means a lot," he said. "At this point in my career I guess it feels pretty good to know you've still got it, guys still respect the way you play and think you're a good player, still."
INJURIES: Speaking of Mankins, he did not practice Wednesday due to a knee injury. "Thankfully we've got three more days yet, so we'll see how we progress," he said. DE Kourtnei Brown (groin), WR Vincent Jackson (knee) and DT Akeem Spence (ankle) also did not practice. S Chris Conte, who left Thursday's loss at St. Louis with a knee injury, had limited participation. DE George Johnson (calf) and McCoy (hand) participated fully.
Contact Rick Stroud at [email protected] and listen from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-AM 620. View his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bucs. Follow @NFLStroud.