FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons Pro Bowl contingent could swell to nine members.
Right tackle Tyson Clabo and place kicker Matt Bryant are first alternates at their positions, according to the Falcons.
“It’s an honor to be in that group,” Clabo said on Thursday. “It’s a good deal.”
Clabo and Bryant would take the place of players at their position it they can’t play because of injury in the all-star game set to be played on Jan. 30 in Hawaii.
However, the Falcons hope they are not playing in the Pro Bowl, because it’s the week before the Super Bowl.
“I have no intention of being out there, but even still it’s an honor to be in that group of guys,” Clabo said.
Seven Falcons were selected to NFC team, but most were happy for specialist Eric Weems, a former undrafted free agent, making the team.
“Nobody works harder than Eric Weems,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “He does so many things for us on special teams. He gets a lot of attention for returning kicks. . . he makes a lot of tackles for us on coverage units. He’s kind of an unsung guy. For him to get in is very special.”
Ryan, Weems, running backs Michael Turner and Ovie Mughelli, wide receiver Roddy White, tight end Tony Gonzalez and defensive end John Abraham were selected to the NFC team.
“It’s really a team award even though individuals get to go,” Turner said. “It shows how well we developed as a team over the year.”
That Clabo is a fast alternate was good news to the offensive line, which was not represented on the all-star team.
“I think all five of those guys will tell you the reason that the five of us are in the Pro Bowl is because of the guys up front and because of what they did,” Ryan said. “I think offensive football starts with the front five and our guys have done well all year.”
–D. Orlando Ledbetter