Cam Newton will cap off his remarkable rookie season with a trip to the Pro Bowl.
"It's obviously a tribute to him and says a lot about his work ethic and his approach to the game," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said during a telephone interview from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. But "it's not just one person, and Cam will certainly tell you that. A lot of people contributed to him reaching that goal. In this game, you are only as good as the people around you."
Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers also was added to the NFC roster Monday, replacing the Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul. Peppers, who had a team-high 11 sacks, makes his seventh Pro Bowl in 10 seasons. He is the first Bears defensive end to make two straight Pro Bowls since Richard Dent in 1984-85.
Other AFC replacements for Patriots players include Jacksonville special teamer Montell Owens (Matthew Slater), Baltimore guard Ben Grubbs (Brian Waters) and San Diego wide receiver Vincent Jackson (Wes Welker).
Newton revitalized the Panthers in his rookie season, setting an NFL record for rushing touchdowns in a season by a quarterback (14) and becoming the first player in league history to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 500 in the same year.
Newton threw for 4,051 yards and 21 touchdowns, and rushed for 14 scores, and is a strong contender for The Associated Press' Offensive Rookie of the Year award despite 17 interceptions.
The Panthers went from last in the league in total offense in 2010 to being ranked seventh in 2011, setting a franchise record with 6,237 yards. Carolina scored 47 touchdowns this year on offense -- up from 16 last season -- after selecting Newton with the No. 1 overall pick.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera had pushed for Newton to be one of the three NFC quarterbacks selected to the Pro Bowl, but the rookie was beaten out by Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, New Orleans' Drew Brees and Manning. Newton was selected as the first alternate ahead of Atlanta's Matt Ryan, Detroit's Matthew Stafford and San Francisco's Alex Smith.
Still, Rivera felt Newton was deserving of the honor.
"He set a standard, a very high standard for any rookie quarterback coming in, and he wants to improve," Rivera said. "He's gotten better in so many different areas. His basic fundamentals just continue to get better and better. Mentally, he's getting the grasp of this offense. He's understanding defenses better and better. You're starting to see leadership come out of him. He's really taken his game to next level, and there's so much room for him to grow. He's got such a high ceiling."
The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday in Honolulu at 7 p.m. ET.
Information from ESPN.com AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley and The Associated Press was used in this report.