NEW YORK >> The undefeated Carolina Panthers led the NFL with 10 players selected for the Pro Bowl today.
The Panthers are two wins away from a perfect regular season. Quarterback Cam Newton was picked for the third time, and five of his teammates were first-time selections, including cornerback Josh Norman and linebacker Thomas Davis.
“It’s truly an honor to be selected to the Pro Bowl,” Davis said. “All the hard work and dedication I’ve put into the game has paid off. I’m extremely excited and I couldn’t be more thankful to the fans who took their time to vote me in, as well as my fellow players and coaches.
“To have 10 guys selected says a lot about our team. It says a lot about our fans and how highly they thought of us this season, and I think it says a lot about the way our season has gone. I’m excited and thankful to be part of the 10.”
Joining them will be center Ryan Kalil, who was picked for the fifth time, and linebacker Luke Kuechly, who earned his third selection.
Seattle, Arizona and New England each had seven players selected, and Cincinnati had five players picked.
Leading the way for the Seahawks was quarterback Russell Wilson, who was the only member of the offense picked. The rest of the selections were defensive end Michael Bennett, safety Kam Chancellor, special teamer Tyler Lockett, cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Earl Thomas and linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Patriots star Tom Brady was selected for the 11th time, most of any player this year. Among the other Patriots honored were tight end Rob Gronkowski and cornerback Malcolm Butler, whose last-minute interception clinched New England’s Super Bowl win over Seattle.
Raiders safety Charles Woodson, who announced on Monday that he will retire after the season, was selected for the ninth time.
Also selected was Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who has 91 catches for 1,396 yards and 13 touchdowns, tied for the league lead. Beckham was given a one-game suspension on Monday for his conduct on Sunday against Carolina, when he drew three personal foul penalties.
Twenty-five players selected were first-timers, including three rookies: the Rams’ Todd Gurley, Lockett and the Chiefs’ Marcus Peters.
Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin will serve as alumni team captains for their Pro Bowl teams. The draft will be on Jan. 27.
The Pro Bowl will be held on Jan. 31 in Aloha Stadium.
AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP—NFL
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The ten best players in the NFL will not play in the Pro Bowl if they are on Super Bowl teams. The NFL needs to re-schedule the Pro Bowl two weeks after the Super Bowl like as was previously done so that fans can truly see the best NFL players in one game.