Three Kent State alums received National Football League (NFL) All-Pro honors for the third consecutive season. Tight end Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers, linebacker James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers and wide receiver kick returner Joshua Cribbs of the Cleveland Browns were selected for the American Football Conference (AFC) squad.
This is the third consecutive season that Gates, Harrison and Cribbs have each received Pro Bowl honors. Each former Golden Flash was an undrafted free agent when they began their NFL careers.
Gates has been a key factor in the Chargers (12-3) winning 10 consecutive games entering the final week of the 2009 regular season to clinch the AFC West Division Championship. He has 78 receptions for a career-high 1,145 yards and seven touchdowns this season. This is the second time in seven seasons that he has exceeded 1,000 receiving yards.
Gates average of 14.7 yards per reception in 2009 is the second-highest average for his career.
Harrison, who selected as the Most Valuable Player in the 2009 Super Bowl, has 76 tackles with 10 sacks and five forced fumbles this season.
Cribbs was selected as the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice during the 2009 season, including the week of December 21 after he returned two kickoffs of 100 or more yards for touchdowns in the Cleveland’s 41-34 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Those two touchdown returns gave Cribbs a total of eight for his career which broke the career record of six held by five players including Hall of Famers Gale Sayers (Chicago Bears 1965-1971) and Ollie Matson (Cardinals, Rams Lions and Eagles 1952-1964). Cribbs has recorded career-highs in receptions (20), receiving yards (136), rushing attempts (49) and rushing yards (334) in 15 games this season.
They will compete at the 2010 Pro Bowl at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida on Sunday, January 31.
2010 NFL All-Pro team rosters: