|Haynesworth and Gurode both make Pro Bowl, could face each other|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 20 December 2007 10:22|
Coincidentally, the two men will be back on the same field in Hawaii in the Pro Bowl after Haynesworth was voted to the AFC roster for the first time in his six-year career. Gurode was voted to the NFC roster.
Haynesworth apologized to the Dallas center by phone two days after that game. He said he was looking forward to seeing Gurode in person.
``Shoot, see him with a couple mai-tais and stuff like that. That would be awesome seeing anybody with that,'' Haynesworth said.
Haynesworth and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch both were voted to the Pro Bowl as AFC starters, with kicker Rob Bironas joining them. Center Kevin Mawae and linebacker Keith Bulluck are alternates who might get the chance to go if someone ahead of them pulls out.
But Haynesworth, who served a five-game suspension last season for stepping on Gurode's head and leaving him needing 30 stitches, said what happened in the past remains in the past.
``What I want to do is ... rewrite the history book on my life and in the NFL. I'm still working on it. It can't happen in just one year. It's a good start right now,'' he said.
Vanden Bosch took defensive line coach Jim Washburn with him to Hawaii when he went two seasons ago as an alternate. Haynesworth said he and Vanden Bosch would take Washburn with them.
MVP'S RSVP?: Brett Favre is back in the Pro Bowl. But will he actually play?
Favre said he is focused on the Packers' game in Chicago on Sunday, and isn't ready to ponder anything beyond that.
It is Favre's ninth Pro Bowl selection and his first since 2003. But Favre has skipped out on his last four chances to play in the Pro Bowl because of fatigue and lingering injuries.
``I haven't gone since '96, and really by the time the season's over, I'm burnt out,'' he said. ``It's been more what I have put into my individual game, as well as the team.''
Favre fondly recalled the first time he was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1992.
``I couldn't wait to get on the phone and call people and tell them and was so excited; I don't see how a first-time player can look at it much differently,'' Favre said. ``I mean, it is an exciting time. But you've got to play another game, and we're in the thick of things. And my direction is Chicago, and we'll see what happens at the end.''
LAST-MINUTE MELTDOWNS: Nobody looks forward to halftime more than the Cincinnati Bengals' defense. At that point, it wants to get as far away from the field as possible.
One of the league's worst defenses has been at its worst in the final minutes of the first half. The Bengals have given up 139 points in the second quarter, by far their worst, and more than a third of those points have come while the clock counted down.
Opponents have scored five touchdowns and five field goals in the final 2 minutes of the first half. In addition, the Bengals gave up another touchdown with 2:13 to go in the half, and another with 4:17 left.
Earlier in the season, coach Marvin Lewis brushed off questions about the last-minute meltdowns. With the trend continuing - the Bengals gave up a touchdown pass with 9 seconds left before halftime in a 20-13 loss at San Francisco on Saturday - he has come around to acknowledge it's a big problem.
``Obviously, it can be somewhat game-changing at some point,'' Lewis said. ``We've given up far too many points going into the final drive before halftime. They've started with 2 minutes to go. They've started with 3 minutes to go. They've started with 4 minutes to go. They've been all varying lengths and ways.''
Why does it keep happening?
``That's got to be something during the offseason to look at and figure out why,'' Lewis said.
PRO-BOWL HAZE: A good Christmas gift for Marcus Trufant might be extra cash.
The Seahawks cornerback was just chosen to his first Pro Bowl. That means less about football and more about a siphoned bank account. Bar tabs and fees for room-service food from prankster veterans famously exceed whatever happens in the game for All-Star newbies.
``There is hazing. There's definitely Pro Bowl hazing,'' said Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who was selected to his third Pro Bowl on Tuesday.
``It's tough - and especially for a guy like that,'' Hasselbeck said, referring to Trufant's quiet personality.
Trufant has seven interceptions this season, second in the NFL and two fewer than he had in his first four seasons combined.
He also seems to have no clue what awaits him in Hawaii in February. The five teammates who will join him there - left tackle Walter Jones, defensive end Patrick Kerney, linebackers Julian Peterson and Lofa Tatupu, and Hasselbeck - do.
``I'll be the rook over there. It will be nice to have some teammates over there to show me the ropes,'' Trufant said.
Such as how to foot the bill. Make that many bills.
``Oh, we're going to tax him,'' Tatupu said. ``Mine will be late-night food. I'll just throw that to his room number.''
Before Hasselbeck's first Pro Bowl, in 2004, he asked Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb for advice on how to handle this high-priced ``hazing.''
McNabb told him he purposely stayed away from the hotel pool bar his first year there. But Warren Sapp, then a defensive end with Tampa Bay and now with Oakland, simply made sure all the NFC veterans' drinks for the week were charged to McNabb's room.
When asked what his first Pro Bowl was like following the 2005 season, Tatupu said, ``Expensive.
``There were some hidden fees, I guess you could call them. I go to check out and my credit card, I almost couldn't cover it. I had to use two cards.''
WINSLOW NOT SWEATING SNUB: If Kellen Winslow has learned anything during four seasons in the NFL, it's patience.
Cleveland's talented tight end, who missed almost two entire seasons because of injuries, understood not being chosen for the Pro Bowl this week. Winslow, who leads the Browns with 71 receptions, was made an alternate on the AFC squad behind Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez and San Diego's Antonio Gates.
``I kind of knew that was going to happen,'' Winslow said. ``When you have a guy like, `Tony Gonzalez, Hall of Famer, Antonio Gates, a future Hall of Famer,' they're going to go.
``I'm sure my time will come, but it's just not my time, yet. People don't know what I've been through just to come back on the field, and people don't really care.
``I just have to keep on pushing and being consistent and my time will come.''
Winslow missed 14 games as a rookie with a broken leg and then missed all of 2005 after a near-fatal motorcycle accident. Following last season, when he tied a Browns record with 89 catches, he underwent microfracture surgery on his knee.
One of his personal goals before this season was a trip to Hawaii, but he's still got other incentives.
``The first goal was to win the Super Bowl,'' he said. ``Another goal was to go 11-5. Individually, I had some goals, and Pro Bowl was one of them. I didn't make it, but there are other goals I can reach.''
Winslow had an 11-catch game against Seattle and he caught 10 passes in a win over Houston last month. But he's had just nine grabs in his last three games as team's double-teamed him.
``They're jamming me and doing everything they can to slow me down,'' Winslow said. ``You have to pick your poison with this team, starting with Jamal (Lewis). He's been getting off lately, so we've been running the ball more.''
DEL RIO'S REAL TEAM: Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s, rooting for the Oakland Raiders and idolizing linebacker Phil Villapiano, quarterback Daryle Lamonica, running back Marv Hubbard and quarterback/kicker George Blanda.
With the Raiders visiting Jacksonville on Sunday, Del Rio made it clear he still harbors a little something for his hometown team.
``I love those uniforms,'' Del Rio said. ``They haven't changed a bit.''
Del Rio even admitted he still has a Raiders hat in his closet, but he doesn't wear it in Jacksonville.
Del Rio also has plenty of friends and family members rooting for the Raiders. But everyone requesting tickets from the coach this week was given one strict requirement: You can't wear silver and black to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. Teal only, please.
He had the same rule when he was a defensive assistant with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001.
``We played (in Oakland) when I was with Baltimore in the AFC championship game, and I had quite a few friends that refused to put on the purple,'' Del Rio said. ``When we went to the Super Bowl, they stayed home. There are a few guys that put on the purple and they got to come.''
AP Sports Writers Mark Long in Jacksonville, Chris Jenkins in Green Bay, Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Gregg Bell in Seattle, Joe Kay in Cincinnati and Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this story.