Peyton Manning was unstoppable on the field this season, and in the all-pro voting, too.
The Indianapolis Colts quarterback was a unanimous choice yesterday for the Associated Press 2004 NFL all-pro team. Manning received all 48 first-place votes from a nationwide panel of pro football writers and broadcasters, the only player to sweep this year's voting.
Despite the Colts' prolific offense, Manning was their only all-pro on that side of the ball. Defensive end Dwight Freeney, the NFL sacks leader with 16, made it on defense.
The AFC's dominance this season was evident on the all-pro team, with 19 players from that conference and just 10 from the NFC. Pittsburgh, with a 15-1 regular season mark, had the most AFC players: guard Alan Faneca, center Jeff Hartings and inside linebacker James Farrior (Virginia). Faneca made it for the third time, Hartings and Farrior were among 17 first-time all-pros.
Philadelphia also had three members: wide receiver Terrell Owens, making it for the fourth time; safety Brian Dawkins (third time) and cornerback Lito Sheppard (first).
Complete list on Page D8.
Brees Is Awarded
San Diego Chargers quarterback Drew Brees was voted the 2004 comeback player of the year by the Associated Press. Brees's passer rating of 104.8 this season was a 37.3-point improvement over the previous year, as the Chargers went from 4-12 to 12-4 and won the AFC West. Brees earned 18 1/2 votes from a national panel of pro football writers and broadcasters, easily beating Carolina linebacker Mark Fields, who received 10 votes. . . .
Jets defensive end John Abraham said yesterday that he wasn't certain that he would be ready for tomorrow's playoff game at San Diego.
"I want to be out on the field, but I also have to be smart," said Abraham, who damaged the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee Dec. 5 against the Texans. On Monday, Jets Coach Herman Edwards said of Abraham, "He's going to play in the football game." . . .
Seattle wideout Koren Robinson returned to practice after a one-day absence to rest his sore right hip. He is listed as probable for tomorrow's playoff game against St. Louis, but Coach Mike Holmgren hadn't decided whether he will play because of a disciplinary issue.