The San Francisco 49ers announced on Tuesday that DT Justin Smith has been named to the 2010 NFC Pro Bowl squad. Smith, who had been selected as an alternate at defensive tackle, replaces Minnesota DT Kevin Williams who will not play in the game due to injury. It marks the nine-year veteran's first Pro Bowl appearance.
The 49ers will now have five representatives playing in the game – RB Frank Gore, TE Vernon Davis, LB Joe Staley and P Andy Lee – marking the highest San Francisco delegation since the team sent six players following the 2002 season. In the past 60 years, the 49ers have sent five-or-more representatives to the Pro Bowl 34 times.
"This is a great opportunity for me to represent my team in Miami … it's been a long time coming," said Smith. "To be able to go there and play with four of my teammates makes it even better."
Smith started all 16 games for the 49ers in 2009 and ranked second on the team with six sacks. He led all 49ers defensive linemen in tackles (90), quarterback pressures (78) and quarterback hits (52), while adding two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Smith has now recorded at least five sacks in eight of his nine NFL seasons. A relentless and explosive defender, Smith heads into the 2010 season with a current active streak of 139 consecutive starts, which is by far the longest streak of any current NFL defensive lineman (Arz. DT Darnell Dockett is 2nd with 81).