Originally created 12/23/99

Odd selections to Pro Bowl rosters



Yes, John Elway retired. Sure, Vinny Testaverde was hurt in the first game of the season.

But what were the odds before the 1999 season that Kurt Warner, Steve Beuerlein and Rich Gannon would be voted to the Pro Bowl ahead of Brett Favre, Troy Aikman and Doug Flutie?

The Pro Bowl teams announced Wednesday for the Feb. 6 game in Honolulu reflected again how strange this season has been.

"I guess the second half of life is the greater half," said the 34-year-old Beuerlein, who was selected for the first time in a 13-year career.

He has played for seven teams, much of the time as a backup. This is by far his best year. As a starter for Carolina, he's thrown for 3,857 yards and 29 touchdowns.

"It's neat. It's great," added Carolina coach George Seifert, who as coach of the 49ers routinely had Joe Montana and Steve Young in the NFL's all-star game.

"We're all very excited to see it take place. Steve's been with different clubs and had his moments, but I don't know that he's had any he's as proud of right now."

Warner, who will start for the NFC, came from total obscurity.

A former Arena League and NFL Europe star, he had played in just one NFL game before this season and was left unprotected last spring on the expansion list from which the Cleveland Browns chose their players.

He became a starter only when Trent Green was lost for the season with a knee injury and shocked even Rams coach Dick Vermeil by leading the NFL in passing and guiding the team to a 12-2 record.

The Rams had just one player, Isaac Bruce in 1996, make the Pro Bowl in their first four seasons in St. Louis. This time they had six representatives for the most in the NFC. Jacksonville (13-1) has seven players on the AFC team, another indication that it pays to be on winners.

"I dreamed about this when I was in the third grade," he said.

"The biggest thing is we have six representatives and some alternates. It really shows what this team has done this year and gives us a lot of respect. Obviously, it's going to go to certain people that are more in the limelight but there's a lot of guys that are deserving on this team."

Gannon, like Beuerlein, has been around. He was drafted by New England as a running back or wide receiver then traded to Minnesota when he said he wanted to play quarterback. He then played for Washington and Kansas City before signing with the Raiders for this season.

"You look at guys around the league and sometimes they're not very pretty and sometimes it's ugly," said Gannon, not known for a rifle arm. "But they find ways to put their teams in position to win."

The Pro Bowl rosters are the usual mix of staples, many of them offensive linemen who seem to get permanent spots in the game once they make the team, and newcomers from successful teams, such as four of the six Rams.

The only St. Louis players who have been there before are Bruce and running back Marshall Faulk, who had been to the Pro Bowl while with Indianapolis. .

Two rookies made it -- running back Edgerrin James of the Colts and defensive end Jevon Kearse of Tennessee.

Five teams have no representatives, including the NFC's last three Super Bowl representatives, Atlanta and Green Bay. The other three are San Diego, expansion Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Three former Steelers did make the AFC team -- safeties Rod Woodson of Baltimore and Carnell Lake of Jacksonville and offensive tackle Leon Searcy of the Jaguars.