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San Francisco Sends 3 ‘Elite’ LBs to the Pro Bowl

Posted Dec 27, 2013

Three of San Francisco's linebackers comprised the team's eight Pro Bowl selections.

Ahmad Brooks was a Pro Bowler in 2012, but he made it as an alternate.

This season, however, the eighth-year pro has been selected as a Pro Bowler without an alternate designation.

“It’s more of a special feeling for me,” said Brooks, who has set a career-high with 8.5 sacks to go along with 71 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and seven pass breakups. “You work to be considered as an elite player in the NFL and in any level that you play. It’s being recognized now. I feel like I’m an elite guy, so it feels good to know other people are watching.”

Brooks wasn’t alone in being recognized as “elite.”

The 49ers tied a league-high with eight Pro Bowl selections, including four members of the defense.

Eight 49ers Selected to Pro Bowl

Joining Brooks as Pro Bowl selections are San Francisco’s inside linebackers, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.

Jim Harbaugh announced the Pro Bowlers at the end of Friday’s practice.

Brooks maintained that the entire roster was deserving.

“We have a good team,” Brooks said. “Any year, anybody can go. As long as you put in the work and the effort, and you have your mindset on being an elite guy, or being somebody that wants to make plays and produce for your team, it’s a possibility you can make it.”

In particular, the triumvirate of linebackers earned their way to the Pro Bowl with consistent play.

“It says we work hard together,” said Bowman, who leads the 49ers with 183 tackles and has posted a career-high 4 sacks, one interceptions, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, eight tackles-for-loss and eight pass breakups . “We know each one of us has a talent, but on Sundays, we have a job to do. As a result to that, all of us do our jobs well.

“That’s a token that shows us we do our job well, getting to the Pro Bowl.”

Bowman has now made two consecutive Pro Bowls and his consistency is very similar to Willis, who has now made seven consecutive Pro Bowls, a franchise record.

Bowman wants to challenge Willis’ record.

“That’s the plan to keep it going and not have any fall-off,” Bowman said. “I’m just trying to catch up with Pat.”

For all of San Francisco’s Pro Bowlers, the goal is to not play in Hawaii, but to make another run at a Super Bowl.

“Hopefully we get to the Super Bowl and not have to play in the Pro Bowl, but I appreciate the recognition,” Bowman said.

Brooks, too, stressed that the playoff run is what’s important.

“I want to win the Super Bowl,” Brooks said. “That’s what means a lot.”

If the 49ers are unable to reach a second consecutive Super Bowl, there’s a chance the linebackers could be on the opposite team as their offensive teammates.

The 2014 Pro Bowl will featured an “Unconferenced” format where former 49ers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will draft two respective teams that will face each other in Hawaii.

Willis wasn’t too keen on having to face teammates like Frank Gore and Vernon Davis.

“That’s a little strange, but if I have to, I have to,” said Willis, who ranks second on the team with 138 tackles to go along with 3.0 sacks, seven tackles-for-loss, two forced fumbles and one pass breakup. “I wouldn’t want to go tackle Frank. That’s a little strange.

"There’s always rules. There’s always something new. You’ve got to adapt I guess.”


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