A changing of the guard – and tackles and running backs and receivers – saw 15 first-timers make the Associated Press 2008 NFL All-Pro team announced Friday.
While such standbys as three-time NFL Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning and six-time All-Pro Ray Lewis made the squad, there was plenty of room for newcomers. Ten of the 14 offensive players and five of the 13 on defense had never been All-Pros.
Baltimore safety Ed Reed made his third Pro Bowl and was joined in the secondary by Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu, making his second All-Pro squad, and two of the newcomers: cornerbacks Cortland Finnegan of Tennessee and Nnamdi Asomugha of Oakland.
Other first-timers on defense were Pittsburgh outside linebacker James Harrison, the AP Defensive Player of the Year; end Justin Tuck of the New York Giants; and inside linebacker Jon Beason of Carolina.
The slew of new All-Pros on offense included running backs Michael Turner of Atlanta and Adrian Peterson of Minnesota; fullback Le’Ron McClain of Baltimore; wideouts Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona and Andre Johnson of Houston; tackles Michael Roos of Tennessee and Jordan Gross of Carolina; guard Chris Snee of the Giants; place-kicker Stephen Gostkowski of New England; and kick returner Leon Washington of the New York Jets.
•Tomlinson doubtful: LaDainian Tomlinson (groin) was officially listed as doubtful by the San Diego Chargers, two days before they play at Pittsburgh in the AFC divisional playoffs.
•Titans’ Mawae out: All-Pro center Kevin Mawae won’t play in the Tennessee Titans’ AFC divisional playoff game with the Baltimore Ravens today because of an injured elbow.
•49ers will interview Linehan for position: Former St. Louis Rams and University of Idaho coach Scott Linehan is interviewing with 49ers coach Mike Singletary for a job as San Francisco’s offensive coordinator.
•Crabtree will announce plans: Texas Tech All-America wide receiver Michael Crabtree will announce at a news conference Tuesday whether he will enter this year’s NFL draft, according to his father.
Michael Crabtree Sr. said that despite reports that his son, Michael Crabtree Jr., has already opted to enter this spring’s NFL draft, no such decision has been made.
•Missouri’s Maclin will turn pro: Missouri All-American Jeremy Maclin has decided to turn pro after two record-breaking seasons with the Tigers. The two-time All-American wide receiver and return specialist led the nation in all-purpose yardage as a sophomore. His 2,833 all-purpose yards were the fifth-most in NCAA history.
•Alabama’s Coffee to enter draft: Alabama running back Glen Coffee will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft after a breakout season with the Crimson Tide.
•BYU’s Collie to forego senior season: Brigham Young receiver Austin Collie said he will skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
James, Cavs rout Celtics
LeBron James scored 38 points, harassed Paul Pierce all over the floor and strengthened his case to be the league’s MVP front-runner as the Cleveland Cavaliers improved to 19-0 at home by beating the staggering Boston Celtics 98-83 at Cleveland in a game oozing with postseason intensity.
James scored 23 in the second half. He added seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks.
•Pistons hold off Nuggets: Tayshaun Prince hit a running jumper with 20 seconds left, Aaron Afflalo hit six straight free throws after that, and the Detroit Pistons overcame 30 points by Chauncey Billups to beat the Denver Nuggets 93-90 at Denver in Allen Iverson’s return to the Mile High city.
•Ridnour hits winner for Bucks: Luke Ridnour’s 5-foot floater with 0.5 seconds left lifted the Bucks to a 104-102 victory over the New Jersey Nets at Milwaukee.
Nets forward Yi Jianlian will miss three to four weeks after breaking the pinkie finger on his right hand late in the third quarter.
Former Mariner to K.C.
Utilityman Willie Bloomquist agreed to a $3.1 million, two-year contract with the Kansas City Royals. The 31-year-old Bloomquist spent all seven of his big league seasons with the Seattle Mariners.
Kansas City also agreed to a $1.3 million, one-year contract with right-hander Kyle Davies.
•Penny signs with Red Sox: Right-hander Brad Penny finalized a $5 million, one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox.
Ogilvy keeps golf lead
Geoff Ogilvy three-putted his last two holes, which ended his impressive streak without a bogey, but didn’t cost him the lead in the Mercedes-Benz Championship at Kapalua, Hawaii.
Flawless over the first 34 holes, Ogilvy stumbled home to a 5-under-par 68, giving him a one-shot lead over D.J. Trahan going into the weekend of the PGA Tour’s season-opener.
•Dementieva wins tennis title: Elena Dementieva beat fellow Russian Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-1 in the ASB Classic at Auckland, New Zealand, to win her 12th WTA singles title.
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