HONOLULU – After a long flight from San Jose and a quick stop at the rental car center, 49ers.com has made it to Hawaii for a week of exclusive coverage of the 2012 Pro Bowl.
Joining myself and Scott Kegley on the flight this morning were none other than three of the team’s nine Pro Bowl representatives: five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis, three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Justin Smith and first-time Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley.
All three of the larger than life players were easily recognized as they waited for luggage at the airport baggage claim. The gracious players took turns signing autographs and posing for photos with fans, many of which complemented the players for the great season they had which ended one game short of a Super Bowl appearance.
From there, NFL superstars weren’t hard to be spotted.
At rental car pickup, Bengals rookie wideout A.J. Green and Houston Texans cornerback Jonathan Joseph stood out as noticeable guests waiting in line.
As for the 49ers trio we traveled with, they’ll be joined in the league’s annual All-Star game by three of San Francisco’s specialists: All-Pro kicker David Akers, All-Pro punter Andy Lee and long snapper Brian Jennings. Those players have been named to the Pro Bowl at the same time in years past, now they’ll play for the NFC squad as representatives of the San Francisco 49ers.
On Monday, Jennings was selected as the NFC’s need player by the Green Bay Packers coaching staff who will run NFC practices all week and coach the team on Sunday against the AFC squad at Aloha Stadium.
Jennings, the veteran specialist, became the ninth 49ers player to be named to the Pro Bowl roster this season. Jennings invite gave the team seven starters in the game which stands as the most in team history, besting the mark of six starters previously set in 1971.
Despite the large turnout from a 14-win season, running back Frank Gore and first-time Pro Bowlers, safety Dashon Goldson and cornerback Carlos Rogers, did not make the trip and will not play in the game due to injuries.
Pro Bowl practices kick off on Wednesday and we’ll be there to document the experience of the six 49ers players in town. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@49ers) for all the latest notes and quotes from Hawaii.
Tags: Andy Lee, Brian Jennings, Carlos Rogers, Dashon Goldson, David Akers, Frank Gore, Joe Staley, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis
Posted in Announcements | 35 Comments »