The following seven Patriots were selected for the 2013 Pro Bowl:
QB Tom Brady
WR Wes Welker
LB Jerod Mayo
Of the group, Gronkowski, Mankins, Wilfork and Mayo were named starters. Slater is the lone special teams selection.
The seven selections is the third-highest total of any NFL team.
Pro Bowl selections are determined based on a combination of fans', coaches' and players' choices.
It's the eighth career selection for Brady, who trails only guard John Hannah (nine selections) for most in franchise history. It's also the fourth consecutive season that Brady was named to the Pro Bowl. Mankins, Welker and Wilfork earned their fifth selections while Gronkowski, Mayo and Slater earned their second.
The 2013 Pro Bowl will be held on Jan. 27, 2013 in Hawaii, but like last season, no Patriots will play in the game if New England advances to Super Bowl XLVII, to be held on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.
Only the San Francisco 49ers (nine selections) and the Houston Texans (eight selections) had more players selected to the game than the Patriots, at least initially. The NFL does not disclose which players were selected as alternates to the Pro Bowl squads.
Here are reactions from some of the Patriots selected, courtesy of the team:
Vince Wilfork: “To be selected to my fifth Pro Bowl is amazing. I am honored and humbled. More importantly, I am proud that the other guys on my team are getting the recognition they deserve.”
Jerod Mayo: “It’s an honor to be recognized by my peers, the coaches and the fans, but it’s more of an honor to be one of seven of my teammates going to Hawaii, since that is a reflection of our overall team success. We’ll all enjoy the recognition tonight with our families and be right back to focusing on the Dolphins in the morning.”
Matthew Slater: “I am very thankful to be selected to the Pro Bowl. God has blessed me with this opportunity and the ability to stay healthy. I have a lot of people to thank. An honor like this does not come without your teammates next to you making plays. I want to thank coach Belichick for believing in me and taking a chance on me so I can live out my childhood dreams of playing in the NFL. Coach Scott O’Brien has pretty much changed my career with the way he teaches and coaches me. I also need to thank Joe Judge for what he has been able to teach me.”
Logan Mankins: “We have a lot of guys who earned the honor this year, so that is pretty cool. It’s always nice to have your peers, coaches and fans select you to the Pro Bowl. Getting voted in is always a reflection of our team success. While I do appreciate this recognition, we need to get ready and keep our focus on the game this week against Miami.”
Tom Brady: “It is flattering to be selected, but I have always considered Pro Bowl recognition as a reflection of the team’s overall success. I am happy for my many teammates who were selected again this year. I know that there are many others who are equally deserving of the opportunity. One day, I am sure I will have a greater appreciation for individual accomplishments, but this week my focus is simply on our preparations for Miami.”