Rex Ryan had hoped his team would be well represented in Hawaii.
But not one Jet – not even defensive stud Muhammad Wilkerson – was named to the 2014 Pro Bowl. Instead, center Nick Mangold and Wilkerson, a third-year defensive end, were selected as first alternates. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who has been battling a nagging hip injury all season, is a second alternate.
The Pro Bowl rosters were announced Friday night on NFL Network. But hours earlier, Ryan devoted a good chunk of his post-practice press conference to stating his case for Wilkerson.
“I’d be shocked if he isn’t on that (Pro Bowl) list,” the Jets coach said of his defensive star, who leads the Jets with 10½ sacks and was voted the team MVP by players earlier this week.
“If Mo doesn’t make it, I don’t get it. It’s personal. Somebody doesn’t like Mo Wilkerson for some reason. You just see his play improving. The sky is the limit for him.”
Wilkerson had the best chance of any Jet to be named to the Pro Bowl. But instead, fans, coaches and NFL players voted the following defensive ends ahead of Wilkerson: Greg Hardy (Panthers) Cameron Jordan (Saints), Robert Quinn (Rams), Cameron Wake (Dolphins), J.J. Watt (Texans) and Mario Williams (Bills).
Ryan also spent much of the past week praising kicker Nick Folk, who has made 31 of 33 field goals this season and is 3 of 3 from 50 yards.
“He’d have to be on that list,” the Jets coach said.
But Matt Prater (Broncos) and Justin Tucker (Ravens) were selected over Folk.
The Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 26 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. For the first time, teams will be unconferenced.