For the 12th year in a row the Steelers will send multiple players to represent the team in the annual Pro Bowl game. Now, multiple normally implies more than 2, at least in my mind but considering how this season as gone there really weren’t many deserving on the team unfortunately so we’ll take what we can get right? This is the fewest number the team has sent since 2000 when Jason Gildon was the only one.
Heath Miller was selected to his 2nd career pro bowl, the first time in 2009, but will be unable to play in the game of course due to the pending surgery on his injured knee. The damage done is extensive and will require a long offseason of rehab for Miller but it’s not anything career threatening, at least not that anyone has let on. If there is a silver lining to this, he’ll have the entire time from now until September to get ready and hopefully be able to go.
We saw as recently as last season that you can come back in 9 months and be effective after a torn ACL; both Max Starks and Casey Hampton were able to do so. Rashard Mendenhall also came back but his timetable was over 10 months before being able to come back. Miller is a great athlete and even though the injury is severe, he’ll have a great staff to work with and we’ll hopefully see him again in September.
Maurkice Pouncey was also selected for Pittsburgh, the 3rd time in his young career but this will be his first time he’s able to play. “It is awesome,” Pouncey said in a comment released by the team. “This time is going to be a little more stressful because I finally get to go to it. The first time we were in the Super Bowl and last year I didn’t get to go because of offseason surgery. It means a lot to take my family to Hawaii and spend some vacation time and then get the chance to play in the game with so many great players.” – Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
If there is a surprise about this whole Pro Bowl situation is that there is no one, not a soul, representing the leagues’ #1 overall ranked defense. Normally if there is anything you can count on with this game and the Steelers, it’s that you’ll see a Linebacker or Secondary member appearing for the Black ‘n Gold. Troy Polamalu, normally a staple in this game did not make it but more interesting is the fact that Ryan Clark is also absent.
Clark has had a fine season, registering 93 total tackles which is 7 shy of his career his set last season of 100. He also registered two interceptions this season, still with 1 game to go yet against Cleveland this Sunday. Clark has easily been the most consistent player on defense all year long for the Steelers but one could make a case for Larry Foote (104 Tackles, 4 Sacks, 2 Forced Fumbles) and Lawrence Timmons (100 Tackles, 4 Sacks, 3 Interceptions, 1 TD, and 1 Forced Fumble) who’ve also had good years.
I’m glad Heath Miller will get the recognition he so richly deserves, and Pouncey’s consistent play and versatility have made him well respected around the league.
Another name that I personally think should have his time to shine in the limelight of the Hawaii sunset is Shaun Suisham. Even if he did go 1/3 in the most recent game against the Bengals, his stats this season were impressive. 27/30 with a long of 52 yds. We can argue that the 2 of the 3 missed should have never been kicked and the short chip shot in week 16 was a bad snap. Still though, the Steelers were lucky to have Suisham on the roster this year.
As we well know things can and do change with pro bowl rosters as the post season goes on, so there is a chance that guys like Clark, Timmons, and others can still make it as alternates.
Considering the poor offensive play for the Steelers this season though and the stellar play, at least stat wise, on the defense by several members you can see why most people regard the Pro Bowl as nothing more than a free vacation for the players.