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Five Packers named Pro Bowl starters

Five Packers named Pro Bowl starters

The last time a Packer offensive lineman was named a Pro Bowl starter, Larry "the Rock" McCarren was the team's anchor and Ronald Reagan was in the White House. Two decades later, guard Marco Rivera has earned a trip to Hawaii, along with several teammates as five Packers were named to the 2002 Pro Bowl team Thursday.<P>

Also selected were Packers quarterback Brett Favre, running back Ahman Green, tight end Bubba Franks and safety Darren Sharper, who all will make return trip to Honolulu. This is Favre's 7th such honor.

For seven-year NFL veteran Rivera however, the Pro Bowl selection is not only the first of his career, but also the first for a Packers offensive lineman since McCarren in 1983 (Frank Winters attended the Pro Bowl as an alternate in 1996).

Pro Bowl alternates for the Packers are Donald Driver, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, William Henderson, Ryan Longwell, Mike McKenzie and Mike Wahle. The five picks accounts for more Pro Bowl selections for the Packers than in the last two years combined.

Balloting for the Pro Bowl is comprised of three equally-weighted sections. The NFL is the only professional sports league to combine the votes of fans, coaches and players.

Fan voting on NFL.com generated 51,677,578 total votes this season. An all-time high, the fan participation showed an increase of almost 15 percent over last year, despite 13 fewer voting days.

Favre earned the most fan votes of any NFL player this season at 930,270. Bubba Franks (603,753) was ninth among offensive players, while Darren Sharper (224,572) was seventh among defensive players.

Starting lineups will not be announced until Wild Card Saturday, January 4. The NFC starting lineups will be announced by ABC at halftime of the NFC Wild Card playoff, with AFC starting lineups announced during the AFC game.

Full NFC and AFC All-Star squads will be announced by the NFL tonight at 5 p.m. Centrl. ESPN will air the NFL Pro Bowl Selection Show at 6 p.m. central.

The Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, is February 3.

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