Five Cowboys named Pro Bowl starters

December, 28, 2010
12/28/10
6:04
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys, a team with 10 losses, had five players named as starters for the Pro Bowl.

Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, tight end Jason Witten, punter Mat McBriar, nose tackle Jay Ratliff and center Andre Gurode were named to the NFC team for Jan. 30 game in Honolulu.

Last season the Cowboys had nine players selected for the game, tied for the sixth most in franchise history. Gurode didn’t participate due to an injury. Tony Romo, Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman were injury replacements.

For Ware, it’s the fifth consecutive season he’s been named to the game. Ware is tied for third in the NFL with 12.5 sacks and he’s had at least five seasons with double-digit sack totals. He’s put up these numbers despite constant double-teams.

Witten earned his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl selection and has been wonderful this year. He leads tight ends in yards (956) and catches (90). His eight touchdowns are a career high. Earlier this season, Witten registered his 600th career reception, making him the fourth tight end in league history to reach that milestone.

"I was hoping for a better season for our team, but individually you try to be one of the best at your position," Witten said. "Going to the Pro Bowl is a great experience and an honor."

McBriar earned his second Pro Bowl berth as he leads the NFL in net punting average at 42.1. Returners have just 174 yards against McBriar this year. McBriar’s other Pro Bowl trip was in 2006.

"It's an honor to go back, and it's quite an honor to be selected by my peers, other coaches and fans. I'm really excited, and it's an awesome feeling," McBriar said. "I was very happy when I got the call. It's extra special for me since I went to school there[in Hawaii], and I get to catch up with some of the people I went to school with. The first time was a really neat experience, I'm going to make the most of it again."

Ratliff will make his third Pro Bowl consecutive Pro Bowl appearance. His overall numbers in sacks (3.5) and quarterback pressures (10) are way down from last year, when he had six sacks and 33 pressures, but like Ware he’s also taking on double teams on a regular basis and opposing teams and coaches took notice of the fact that he’s still a dominant force.

Gurode makes his fifth consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl and continues a streak of offensive linemen who have reached the NFL’s all-star game for the Cowboys. Since 2002, the Cowboys have had at least one offensive linemen named to the Pro Bowl.

There is also a possibility other players could be named to the team as injury replacements, but that won’t be known until changes are made to the roster.

For the full roster of starters for both the AFC and NFC, click here.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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