If the Seattle Seahawks fail to reach the Super Bowl, center Max Unger will have a nice consolation prize: a trip to the Pro Bowl.
Unger, a 2004 Hawaii Preparatory Academy graduate from Waimea, was voted into the NFL’s all-star game for the second straight year Friday. It’s the second consecutive season that the Seahawks have had six players picked for the Pro Bowl, but this year Unger was the only member selected from an offensive line that’s opened up holes for the league’s fourth-best rushing attack. Running back Marshawn Lynch, another Pro Bowler, ranks sixth in the NFL with 1,160 yards.
Unger, a second-round pick out of the University of Oregon in 2009, missed three games earlier this season with injury but is slated to make his 13th start of the year Sunday when postseason-bound Seattle (12-3) hosts St. Louis with a chance to earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
If the Seahawks advance to the Super Bowl, Unger would miss out on his Hawaii homecoming.
The Pro Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 26 at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium. The NFL combines votes from fans, players and coaches to determine 86 of 88 Pro Bowl players; the other two players are long-snappers selected by Pro Bowl coaches. Voting ended Thursday.
Under a new format this year, NFL greats Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will divvy up the players in a two-day draft before the game. Offensive and defensive players with the most votes who don’t make it past the divisional playoff round will serve as active player captains.
The Chiefs and 49ers each had eight players voted into the Pro Bowl, including running backs Jamaal Charles of Kansas City and Frank Gore of San Francisco.
Denver quarterback Peyton Manning was selected to his 13th Pro Bowl after receiving the most votes among fans, 1.43 million. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees was second among fans with 1.2 million votes.
Charles said Friday on the NFL Network that he should be picked first.
“I think I got the best skillset of anybody on the roster,” Charles said. “I think I can play wide receiver and then put the ball in my hand, also. The only thing I can’t do is throw the ball.”
Stephens Media Hawaii contributed to this report.