Chargers lead Pro Bowl selections with 7 players

NEW YORK (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers placed seven players in the Pro Bowl, including safety Derwin James, one of six rookies across the league to make the game.

James, a first-round draft choice, will be joined on the AFC squad by veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, wide receiver Keenan Allen, running back Melvin Gordon, defensive end Melvin Ingram, center Mike Pouncey and special-teamer Adrian Phillips for the game, which will be played Jan. 27 in Orlando. James and Phillips are the only starters, though.

Rivers is a backup to Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes, one of 29 first-time Pro Bowlers. That, of course, includes all the rookies: James, Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Seahawks punter Michael Dickson, Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay, Indianapolis guard Quenton Nelson and Cleveland cornerback Denzel Ward. Lindsay is an undrafted player.

New England's Tom Brady is the other AFC quarterback, making it for the 14th time. Noticeably missing is the Colts' Andrew Luck.

New Orleans, led by quarterback Drew Brees, Dallas and Chicago paced the NFC with five players each. Brees is the starter, backed up by Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and the Rams' Jared Goff.

Buffalo, Oakland and Tampa Bay had no Pro Bowl selections.

Pittsburgh and Kansas City each had six players chosen, including such first-timers as Steelers running back James Conner and Mahomes, both having breakthrough years.

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Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes
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Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes
LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 15: Patrick Mahomes #5 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners on November 15, 2014 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. Oklahoma won the game 42-30. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 24: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes II #5 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders gestures to his players during the first half of their loss against the Oklahoma Sooners on October 24, 2015 at the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. (Photo by Jackson Laizure/Getty Images)
MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 07: Patrick Mahomes #5 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders in action during the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers on November 7, 2015 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, KS - OCTOBER 08: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes II #5 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders warms up prior to a game against the Kansas State Wildcats on October 8, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Football quarterback and NFL draft prospect Patrick Mahomes visits SiriusXM Studios on April 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 03: Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 3, 2017 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 11: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) before an NFL week 1 preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs on August 11th, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. The 49ers won 27-17. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) scrambles for a first down at the end of the first quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. (John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 10: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) before an AFC West showdown between the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs on December 10, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) takes the field for his first NFL regular season start, against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, at Sports Authority Field in Denver. The Chiefs won, 27-24. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 06: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) before the AFC Wild Card game between the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs on January 6, 2018 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 25: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) looks on during game action in a preseason NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chicago Bears on August 25, 2018 at Soldier Field in Chicago IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 25: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws the football during game action in a preseason NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chicago Bears on August 25, 2018 at Soldier Field in Chicago IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 16: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs in action during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 16, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 23: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks up at the scoreboard during the third quarter of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium on September 23rd, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 23: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) handles the football in action during an NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs on September 23, 2018, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 1: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs scores a second-quarter rushing touchdown, the first of his NFL career, against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on October 1, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 1: Patrick Mahomes (15) of the Kansas City Chiefs looks to sidelines during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos. The Denver Broncos hosted the Kansas City Chiefs at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver, Colorado on Monday, October 1, 2018. (Photo by Eric Lutzens/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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Cleveland has a first overall draft choice in the game — not Baker Mayfield, but 2017 top pick Myles Garrett at defensive end.

"Football is a team game and you can't do it on your own," said Garrett, who leads the Browns with 12½ sacks. "I'm happy to be able to share this experience with Denzel because this honor is really a testament to our entire defense."

Among the perennial AFC choices returning to the game are Houston DE J.J. Watt, Pittsburgh WR Antonio Brown, Baltimore guard Marshal Yanda and safety Eric Weddle, Cincinnati DT Geno Atkins and Denver LB Von Miller.

"To get recognized by your peers, the coaches and the fans, it means a lot," Weddle said. "It's always special to put in the hard work and to try your best and then get recognized. The Pro Bowl is something I never take for granted, and I'm pretty stoked about it. Each year you just work hard and try to play your very best. To receive recognition for what you do on the field, even if it may not show up in other areas, is awesome."

For the NFC, frequent repeaters include Atlanta WR Julio Jones and C Alex Mack, Dallas tackle Tyron Smith, inside LBs Luke Kuechly of Carolina and Bobby Wagner of Seattle, Arizona CB Patrick Peterson, Rams DT Aaron Donald and Bears LB Khalil Mack.

One of the newcomers, Chicago DT Akiem Hicks, sounded overwhelmed by the honor.

"I have played the game of football my entire life and this is the greatest accolade I've ever achieved," he said.

There will be a brother combination at center for the AFC as Maurkice Pouncey of Pittsburgh is the starter ahead of Mike Pouncey.

The Jets, despite a 4-10 record, have three Pro Bowlers in safety Jamal Adams, kicker Jason Myers and return specialist Andre Roberts — all first-timers.

Pro Bowl coaching staffs will be from the losing teams in the AFC and NFC divisional playoffs with the best regular-season records. Each player on the winning Pro Bowl team receives $67,000, while each player on the losing squad earns $34,000.

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