RaiderBeat.com Staff Report
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and punter Shane Lechler were selected to the Pro Bowl as representatives of the AFC in a game against their NFC counterparts Jan. 31, 2010, in South Florida. Tight end Zach Miller and defensive lineman Richard Seymour were selected as alternates.
“It’s a great honor, and I’m glad to go back with Nnamdi and represent the Raiders,” Lechler said in a press release issued by the Raiders. “You have to go out and prove it every year. I felt like I was having a solid season and was hoping to make it and to get the news today was definitely a relief.”
Lechler was selected for the fifth time in his 10-year NFL career. He has been on pace to break Sammy Baugh’s 69-year-old record for single-season gross average for most of the season. However, he fell behind Baugh’s 51.4-yard record after Sunday’s so-so performance against the Cleveland Browns. Lechler is at 51.1 and has one game to catch or pass Baugh.
Lechler also leads the league in net average at 44.0. In addition, 28 of his punts have been downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.
Asomugha was selected for the second straight year, both as a starter. He was an alternate earlier in his career but he was unable to catch a flight to Hawaii in time to make the game when he was asked to replace an injured player.
Asomugha quickly is edging closer to being mentioned alongside Raiders Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown as one of the all-time greats. In a press release, Asomugha said: “Being around (Brown) is just great. That’s a legacy that you leave when you’re done with the game. People look back and see your name (among Raider greats), it’s a big accomplishment.”
Asomugha is regarded as the league’s top cornerback by most of his peers. He has allowed only one touchdown in 30 games — he missed one game in 2008 — the past two seasons. Teams rarely throw Asomugha’s way for fear of the pass being intercepted or broken up.
Denver Broncos Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall caught 21 passes for 200 yards against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 13. One week later, Marshall caught seven passes for 73 yards and one touchdown against the Raiders, but none of those receptions came when he was guarded by Asomugha.
By comparison, the other starting AFC cornerback, the New York Jets’ Darrelle Revis, faces a handful of passes each game. Asomugha routinely goes several games in a row without seeing a single pass thrown his way.
San Diego Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding got the nod over Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski, who is in the midst of the best year of his 10-year NFL career. The selection could have gone either way based on the stats.
Kaeding his converted 29 of 32 field-goal attempts, with a long of 55. Janikowski has made 24-of-27, including a long of 61. His misses came from 66 yards, 57 and 45 yards. He has yet to be selected to a Pro Bowl.
“He’s got a miss from 45, a miss from 57 and a miss from 66,” Lechler said Monday. “I mean, two of those wouldn’t even be attempted by 95 percent of the league, and one of them is a 50-50 shot for 95 percent of the league.”
RAIDERS PRESS RELEASE
DEC. 29, 2009
ASOMUGHA, LECHLER NAMED TO PRO BOWL
Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and punter Shane Lechler have been named to the 2010 Pro Bowl squad, the NFL announced today. Tight end Zach Miller and defensive end Richard Seymour were named Pro Bowl alternates for the Jan. 31, 2010, game in South Florida.
“I am excited and happy for the Raiders who have been selected for the Pro Bowl,” said Raiders Head Coach Tom Cable. “It’s tremendous that they are being recognized as the best at their positions. They deserve it and the Raiders organization is proud of them. The Raiders have rich history and tradition and these players exemplify what it means to wear the Silver and Black.”
The Pro Bowl selection is the fifth for Lechler, who leads the NFL in punting with a 51.1-yard average. His net punting average of 44.0 yards also leads the NFL.
For Asomugha, this year’s selection is the third of his seven-year NFL career. He was named a starter last season and was an addition to the 2006 Pro Bowl squad after being named an alternate, but did not make the game due to the late notification.
Lechler has 773 career punts for 36,549 yards in 10 pro seasons. He was originally a fifth-round draft pick out of Texas A&M University by the Raiders in 2000. Lechler’s 47.3-yard career punting average is the highest in NFL history for players with at least 250 attempts.
Asomugha was one of two Raiders first round selections in the 2003 NFL Draft. He has four passes defensed this season and his interception on Nov. 22 against Cincinnati brought his career total to 11. He tied for third in the NFL with eight
interceptions during the 2006 season.
The Raiders have had 171 Pro Bowl selections among 57 different players since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
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