Tom Brady has outdone even himself.
The record-setting Patriots quarterback is the leading vote-getter for the Associated Press 2010 NFL All-Pro Team. His unanimous selection marks the seventh straight year at least one player has gotten every vote. Three years ago, when Brady set the league record for touchdown passes, he missed by a half-vote of being unanimous, sharing a ballot with Brett Favre.
Brady is one of three Patriots selected to the squad by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. He is joined by guard Logan Mankins and inside linebacker Jerod Mayo.
A player has made the team unanimously every year since 2004.
Baltimore safety Ed Reed, a unanimous selection previously, is joined this year by Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and kicker Billy Cundiff.
One rookie makes AP All-Pro: Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
“It’s a great honor and it’s an award I’ve had my eye on, along with being in the Pro Bowl,” Suh said.
“Those are two of the highest accomplishments you can have other than winning a Super Bowl and being MVP.”
It’s difficult to compare Oakland’s Shane Lechler to other punters. Lechler has the most All-Pro selections of anyone on the 2010 team, six.
The AFC is the dominant conference with 18 of the 27 spots: nine on offense, seven on defense, two special teamers.
Joining Brady in the backfield is one of the season’s biggest surprises, Houston running back Arian Foster. He led the league with 1,616 yards rushing and scored 16 touchdowns. The other tailback is Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles, like Foster a first-time choice.
Foster’s guide through holes in the line, Vonta Leach, is the fullback, also for the first time.
The wide receivers are Atlanta’s Roddy White and Indianapolis’ Reggie Wayne, both newcomers. White led the league with 115 catches.
Dallas tight end Jason Witten is on for a second time.
Up front are Mankins and New Orleans’ Jahri Evans at guard, Miami’s Jake Long and Cleveland’s Joe Thomas at tackle, and center Nick Mangold of the New York Jets. Evans, Thomas and Mangold are repeaters. Long and Mankins are first-timers.
Cundiff and Lechler are joined on special teams by Chicago returner Devin Hester, who also was an All-Pro in 2006 and 2007. This season, Hester’s 17.1-yard punt return average set a record, and he passed Brian Mitchell for career kick return touchdowns with 14.
Along with Reed, making his fifth All-Pro squad, Ngata, Suh and Mayo on defense are ends Julius Peppers of the Bears and John Abraham of Atlanta; outside linebackers Clay Matthews of Green Bay and James Harrison of Pittsburgh; inside linebacker Patrick Willis of San Francisco; cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha of Oakland and Darrelle Revis of the Jets; and safety Troy Polamalu of Pittsburgh.
Defensive repeaters from 2009 are Willis and Revis.
Polamalu, Peppers and Willis make it for the third time, Abraham, Harrison and Asomugha for the second.
In all, 10 AFC teams and eight from the NFC are represented, with Chicago the only NFC club with two players.
Bengals won’t trade QB
The Bengals aren’t willing to trade Carson Palmer, who wants to leave one of the NFL’s least-successful franchises while he’s still in his prime.
Owner Mike Brown said Monday that the 31-year-old quarterback asked for a trade a little more than a week ago. Brown told Palmer he wouldn’t be traded because he’s central to the team’s plans.
“He was told that, and that we count on him going forward,” Brown told the Cincinnati Enquirer and the team’s website in Mobile, Ala. “He was told that we are not in a position to trade him.”
Palmer hasn’t talked to the media since making his trade request. A text message seeking comment wasn’t returned. Agent David Dunn released a statement saying that “because of the lack of success that Carson and the Bengals have experienced together, Carson strongly feels that a separation between him and the Bengals would be in the best interest of both parties.”
Super Bowl going indoors
The retractable roof at $1.3 billion Cowboys Stadium will be closed for the Super Bowl.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Monday the decision was made well in advance of the Feb. 6 game so the league could have a “singular focus” on logistics.
The Dallas-area weather could be good enough for an open-air game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers, but there could also be freezing temperatures.