Six Eagles have been selected for the Pro Bowl, including what's believed to be a historic selection.
DeSean Jackson was the first player picked as both a wide receiver and punt returner. He will be joined at the Pro Bowl by kicker David Akers, offensive tackle Jason Peters, cornerback Asante Samuel, defensive end Trent Cole and fullback Leonard Weaver. It is the most Eagles selected since 2004.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb was picked as a first alternate. Corner Sheldon Brown and tight end Brent Celek are second alternates.
The Pro Bowl will be played in Miami on Jan. 31, the Sunday before the Super Bowl. Players from the conference championship teams won't play in the Pro Bowl -- so alternates have a better shot at getting there than ever before -- but those championship players will be flown to the game and will participate in the festivities. So Akers and several other Eagles selections noted Tuesday evening that they would prefer to be standing on the sideline for the Pro Bowl.
Safety Quintin Mikell is a third alternate, guard Todd Herremans and defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley are fourth alternates. Most years, that wouldn't be worth mentioning, but this season, they could end up going.
This is Akers' fourth Pro Bowl, his first since 2004. Samuel is going for the third year in a row, the first two with New England. Same situation with Peters, who went the last two years with Buffalo. Cole gained his second berth, having also gone in 2007. Jackson and Weaver are first-timers. Weaver is the first Eagles fullback to make it since Bill Barnes in 1960.
"It's an unreal experience," said Weaver, who joined the Eagles as a free agent in the offseason.
Jackson said he was "kind of lost for words for a minute" when Eagles coach Andy Reid told him he had made it in both spots, and that as near as anybody could figure out, he was the first player to do that.
He said his first thought was of his father, Bill, who passed away from pancreatic cancer this past offseason. "He motivated me so much," Jackson said. He said if his father were present "he would probably be going crazy. He always thought the world of me."
Celek, McNabb and Brown all have had Pro Bowl-caliber years, but McNabb and Celek faced very tough statistical competition, and Brown wasn't helped by having Samuel make it.
Brown said last night he hadn't gotten his hopes up and wasn't crushed, though obviously, after eight seasons in the league, a little recognition would be welcome. He said he thinks this season has been among the top two or three of his career. He is a better tackler than Samuel and is more consistent in coverage, but has five picks to Samuel's nine.
Brown said he knows stats play a huge role, and he can't complain too much.
"We vote for the receivers, and I definitely don't see every receiver in the league," he said. "I have to go off the stats."