Washington Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels has made his second straight NFC Pro Bowl team.
Samuels originally was named an alternate to the team, but Redskins officials found out today that he would be making the trip to Hawaii next week, probably as a replacement for injured Philadelphia Eagles tackle Tra Thomas. Samuels joins the two Redskins players originally selected to the NFC squad, linebacker LaVar Arrington and cornerback Champ Bailey.
It marks a satisfying culmination to an often-frustrating season for Samuels, who struggled early in the season as he battled a string of injuries. But he gradually got healthier, and his play returned to the level that the Redskins expected from the third overall selection in the 2000 draft. He joined Arrington, the player drafted immediately before him, as two-time Pro Bowlers.
"I had a lot of injuries and a lot to overcome this year," Samuels said near the end of the season. "I'm pretty proud of myself for the way I hung in there."
The Redskins, as they had expected, lost defensive line coach Ricky Hunley and strength coach Chip Morton to the Cincinnati Bengals.
They followed Marvin Lewis, the former Redskins defensive coordinator who became Cincinnati's head coach last week. Lewis announced his almost-completed coaching staff today, hiring Eagles defensive backs coach Leslie Frazier as his defensive coordinator.
The Redskins also signed wide receiver Scott Cloman, a former member of San Francisco's practice squad.
Only at the Super Bowl
A Super Bowl media day wouldn't be complete without some silly shenanigans, and today's leading knucklehead was a Don King impersonator representing "The Best Damned Sports Show Period."
Dressed in a wig resembling King's electric shock Afro-look, the actor shouted out diatribes disguised as questions to various players and coaches on both teams.
When he tried his act on Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp, he got little response. Sapp sat there stoically and tried to ignore it, then started yelling, "Security . . . security." Later, Sapp got a bit more creative, adding, "That's why it's not the best damned sports show period" and "Who let him in?"
Bucs Coach Jon Gruden also was not amused. He also sat impassively during the act before finally saying, "I'm going to show you some intensity, in a minute."
Bucs wide receiver Keenan McCardell still has his Super Bowl ring from the Washington Redskins' victory in Super Bowl XXVI. He was a rookie from UNLV on that team and suffered a season-ending knee injury on Aug. 20. Still, he vividly remembers that Washington team, and what many of his older teammates taught him.
"The thing I remember most is the veteran leaders," he said today. "Guys like Gary Clark, Monte Coleman, Tim Johnson, Darrell Green. I just remember those guys telling me as a young man that this was how you prepare to play the game in the NFL. Coach [Joe] Gibbs had a great offensive mind, and I learned so much and he helped me to understand football.
"As a young guy, you want to play at a high level. You don't want to be guessing out there. I left the next year. They had three great receivers, and I felt like it was my time to play. I went to Cleveland, then Jacksonville. It's taken me a long time to get back to this game, and I'll always cherish this."
Favre Out of Pro Bowl
Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre won't play in the Pro Bowl, while Packers wide receiver Donald Driver will make his debut.
The Packers said that Favre will not play in the Feb. 2 Pro Bowl game in Honolulu because of his sprained ankle. He has been voted to the Pro Bowl six times in his 12-year career. He also played in the 1993 game as a replacement.
Favre decided against playing in the Pro Bowl after the 1997 season because of a knee problem and after the 2001 season because of back and abdominal problems.
Making Their Runs
The AFC has won four of the last five Super Bowls, following a streak of 15 NFC winners in 16 years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.