The list of Texans Pro Bowl alternates is nine-deep. We don’t know where they rank in the line waiting for invites to Hawaii. But if they don’t go to the Super Bowl, odds are several of them wind up on the AFC’s roster because of drop-outs, injuries and the absence of players from the AFC’s Super Bowl representative.
The guys who could still get in: outside linebacker Connor Barwin, left tackle Duane Brown, outside linebacker Brian Cushing, tight end Owen Daniels, receiver Andre Johnson, returner Jacoby Jones, center Chris Myers, end Antonio Smith and end J.J. Watt.
(Side note: If you are lamenting how some of these guys aren't in, you should also be questioning how Johnson is anywhere close as he's spent most of the season rehabilitating hamstring injuries.)
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle writes this morning that the “snubs” can help fuel an anger the team needs to funnel into better play. A couple wins now and they’ll gain a lot of the respect they may be lacking at this point.
I think Cushing and Myers should be on the roster. Brown also has a strong case, but the first time a guy is deserving he often doesn’t make it.
Jerome Solomon wondered if suspensions Cushing and Brown have served for violations of the league’s policy against performance-enhancers hurt their candidacies. I feel certain those hurt, and that’s part of the long-term consequences for a positive test for a banned substance no matter your defense.
Brown and Cushing both were suspended for four games of the 2010 season for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Brown says he failed a test after taking a supplement that he didn’t know contained a banned substance. Cushing maintained that his failed test could be explained by his natural body chemistry, as opposed to anything he took.
“I’m not sure if that played a part or not,” Brown told me Tuesday evening. “I think just it is more of getting your name out there, getting on the radar. The guys that made it have been doing it for a long time. I can admit that I’ve been up and down in my career and haven’t put together other solid years like this one.”
That mature response by Brown to disappointing news is a great sign for the Texans, perhaps a better overall development than being named to the AFC roster would have been.