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Fitzgerald Picked As Pro Bowl Starter


Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was named a Pro Bowl starter Tuesday.

In a year of uncertainty for the Cardinals -- with games that frequently came down to the final seconds -- Larry Fitzgerald's inclusion on the NFC's Pro Bowl squad was never in doubt.

Among the conference and league leaders statistically all year, Fitzgerald was officially named an NFC Pro Bowl starter Tuesday afternoon.

Fitzgerald was the only Cardinal to make the NFC team, joining Dallas' Terrell Owens as a starter. The Rams' Torry Holt and the Packers' Donald Driver are the other two NFC receivers.

Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett and running back Edgerrin James were each named first alternates; if any of the three tackles or three running backs selected cannot play in the game, Dockett or James would be heading to Hawaii.

The NFC starting defensive tackles are a pair of Vikings: Pat Williams and Kevin Williams. The Bears' Tommie Harris is the reserve.

Beating out James at running back was starter Adrian Peterson, the Vikings' rookie, and reserves Brian Westbrook of Philadelphia and Marion Barber of Dallas.

The Cowboys had 11 players on the 42-man NFC roster, the Vikings seven, the Seahawks six, the Packers four and the Bears four.

The game will be held Feb. 10, a week after Super Bowl XLII is played at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Despite missing a game with a groin injury, Fitzgerald is tied for fourth in the NFC in catches (83), is second is yards (1,166) and is fifth in receiving touchdowns (8). It is Fitzgerald's second Pro Bowl selection in the first four years of his career; he also went as a reserve after the 2005 season. His pick this year rewards him with a $5 million bonus for the 2008 season.

Fitzgerald has been remarkably consistent this year, especially in light of the lingering injury troubles of fellow wideout Anquan Boldin that allowed defenses to focus on Fitzgerald. In 12 games, Fitzgerald has had fewer than 74 yards receiving only twice – including the two-catch, 27-yard game in New Orleans last weekend – and has three 100-yard games.

Fitzgerald also has at least one touchdown catch in each of the past five games, a personal-best streak.

Dockett is enjoying his best season with a career-high eight sacks, a career-high 68 tackles, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was the Cards' biggest snub.

James is fourth in the NFC with 1,052 yards rushing and six touchdowns, and is only the second Cardinal in franchise history to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

While Fitzgerald's selection to all-star status was obvious, he insisted recently he wasn't looking for any validation of his season.

"I don't really care what people think about me around the league," Fitzgerald said. "Honestly, it doesn't bother me because at the end of the day we are judged by productivity and we are judged on wins. Neither one of those things can be fudged, you can't make either of them up.

"Say me and Q (Boldin) were playing in New York, we might be more of a headline group of guys. But I don't think Q and I have been ones to play for statistics or the fame and glory. We want to be great players and we want to be productive people in the community, someone who kids can look up to. Those are the things are important to us."

Contact Darren Urban at Posted 12/18/07. Updated 12/18/07.

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