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AFC East cultivating first-time Pro Bowl love

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Some of the best individual performances in the AFC East this season are being turned in by veterans who have never been to a Pro Bowl.

New York Jets running back Thomas Jones almost certainly will get an invitation to Honolulu after this, his ninth, season.

He leads the AFC with 1,088 rushing yards and is tied with Tennessee Titans back LenDale White with 13 total touchdowns.

Jones' 11 rushing touchdowns are tied with Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars for second place behind White. Ronnie Brown of the Miami Dolphins has 10 rushing touchdowns.

Marshawn Lynch of the Buffalo Bills has 884 rushing yards, fourth in the AFC.

None of the above has been to a Pro Bowl.

Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington is having a season that could qualify him for the honor after nine seasons. His 92.8 passer rating ranks second in the AFC (first among non-Pro Bowlers), while his 2,884 passing yards rank fourth (second among non-Pro Bowlers).

New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel is less than 100 passing yards behind Pennington. His 13 touchdowns are tied for fifth in the AFC (second among non-Pro Bowlers).

Lee Evans, in his fifth year with the Bills, is third in the AFC (second among non-Pro Bowlers) with 890 receiving yards.

Three AFC East kickers who've never been to a Pro Bowl are in the top four in scoring. Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots is first with 107 points; Rian Lindell of the Bills is third with 100 points; Jay Feely of the Jets is fourth with 96 points, but in only 11 games.

A first-time Pro Bowler should represent the AFC East as a return man. Leon Washington, Leodis McKelvin, Roscoe Parrish and Ellis Hobbs all rank highly.