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Monday, January 8, 2007
LT, Taylor, Bailey lead All-Pro selections

Associated Press

LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor and Champ Bailey capped superb seasons by unanimously making The Associated Press NFL All-Pro team announced Monday.

2006 AP All-Pro Roster
First Team Offense
Player
Position
Team
Drew Brees
QB
Saints
LaDainian Tomlinson
RB
Chargers
Larry Johnson
RB
Chiefs
Lorenzo Neal
FB
Chargers
Antonio Gates
TE
Chargers
Marvin Harrison
WR
Colts
Chad Johnson
WR
Bengals
Jammal Brown
T
Saints
Willie Anderson
T
Bengals
Shawn Andrews
G
Eagles
Alan Faneca
G
Steelers
Olin Kreutz
C
Bears
Robbie Gould
K
Bears
Devin Hester
KR
Bears
First Team Defense
Player
Position
Team
Jason Taylor
DE
Dolphins
Julius Peppers
DE
Panthers
Jamal Williams
DT
Chargers
Kevin Williams
DT
Vikings
Shawne Merriman
OLB
Chargers
Adalius Thomas
OLB
Ravens
Brian Urlacher
MLB
Bears
Zach Thomas
MLB
Dolphins
Rashean Mathis
CB
Jaguars
Champ Bailey
CB
Broncos
Brian Dawkins
S
Eagles
Ed Reed
S
Ravens
Brian Moorman
P
Bills

Tomlinson, San Diego's record-setting running back, also won the AP Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year awards. Miami end Taylor was the Defensive Player of the Year.

Bailey tied for the league lead with 10 interceptions even though opponents tried to avoid throwing to the Broncos cornerback's side of the field.

"My whole idea to go out on a Sunday is to be a pain in the butt for the other team," said Taylor, who had 62 tackles, 13½ sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, two interceptions -- both returned for TDs -- 11 passes defensed, 10 fumbles forced and two fumbles recovered.

"If I can be a pain in their butt and give somebody a headache, then more times than not, it's going to work out well for myself."

It worked out so well for him, Tomlinson -- who set NFL records for points with 186, touchdowns with 31 and TDs rushing with 28 -- and Bailey that they received all 50 votes from a nationwide panel of sports writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL.

Two others, both Chicago Bears, came close to sweeping the vote. Devin Hester, who set a league mark with six kick returns for touchdowns, was the only rookie on the team, earning 48½ votes. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, a repeater from last year, got 48.

Asked about the respect he was shown as a rookie, Hester said: "Right, most definitely. I really didn't want to look into this season. I just kind of wanted to establish myself and feel at home. Toward the offseason, that's when I really start looking at some stuff like that."

In all, the Chargers had the most All-Pros with five: Tomlinson, tight end Antonio Gates, fullback Lorenzo Neal, defensive tackle Jamal Williams and linebacker Shawne Merriman, who made it despite serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's steroids policy. Merriman still wound up with a league-best 17 sacks.

Pasquarelli's All-Pros
Last week Len Pasquarelli unveiled his 2006 All-Pros. While some of the obvious players (LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor) made the cut on both lists, Pasquarelli had plenty of different names on his team.
Pasquarelli: 2006 All-Pro Team

The Bears were next with four All-Pros: Urlacher, Hester, center Olin Kreutz and kicker Robbie Gould.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees edged the Colts' Peyton Manning 25 votes to 24 for the quarterback spot. It was the first time since 2002 that Manning was not the first-team quarterback.

Brees engineered the turnaround in New Orleans from 3-13 to 10-6 and an NFC South division title.

He was joined on the All-Pro squad by Saints second-year tackle Jammal Brown.

Kansas City's Larry Johnson was selected in the backfield with Brees, a former Charger, and the two San Diego backs.

2006 AP Award Winners
 National Football League
• MVP: LaDainian Tomlinson
• Offensive Player: Tomlinson
• Defensive Player: Jason Taylor
• Comeback Player: Chad Pennington
• Coach of Year: Sean Payton
• Offensive Rookie: Vince Young
• Defensive Rookie: DeMeco Ryans

The wideouts are Marvin Harrison of Indianapolis and Chad Johnson of Cincinnati.

Another Bengal, tackle Willie Anderson, is on the offensive line, where he's joined by Philadelphia guard Shawn Andrews and Pittsburgh guard Alan Faneca.

Taylor anchors a defense also featuring end Carolina end Julius Peppers, Minnesota tackle Kevin Williams, Baltimore linebacker Adalius Thomas, Miami linebacker Zach Thomas, Jacksonville cornerback Rashean Mathis, Philadelphia safety Brian Dawkins and Baltimore safety Ed Reed.

"It means a lot," said Adalius Thomas, a first-time All-Pro. "It's a tribute not to myself, but to a lot of the guys up front. I don't think you could have a good linebacking corps without good defensive linemen. That's a tribute to Kelly Gregg, Haloti Ngata, Trevor Pryce and all those guys and the other linebackers, Ray Lewis, Bart Scott and Terrell Suggs."

Buffalo's Brian Moorman is the punter.

Repeaters from 2005 are Gates, Chad Johnson, Anderson, Faneca, Jamal Williams, Urlacher, Bailey and Moorman.

In all, there are 18 AFC players and 10 from the NFC.