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Three Steelers selected to the 2011 Pro Bowl squad

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Safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison are elected as starters, while rookie center Maurkice Pouncey joins the squad as a reserve.

Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison, safety Troy Polamalu and rookie center Maurkice Pouncey have been selected to the 2011 AFC Pro Bowl team announced today by the NFL. Harrison and Polamalu were named starters in the NFL’s annual All-Star game.

The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday, January 30, 2011, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii and televised by FOX in prime time at 7 p.m. Eastern. The Pro Bowl squads were selected by a combined voting of fans, players and coaches.

Harrison was named a starter to the AFC Pro Bowl squad for the fourth consecutive season. He has started for the AFC in the Pro Bowl in each season that he has started for the Steelers. Voted the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Harrison became the first player in Steelers history to record at least 10 sacks in three straight seasons, having recorded a team-leading 11 in 2010. He also leads all Steelers with six forced fumbles. Always a force against the run and the pass, Harrison ranks fourth on the Steelers with 96 tackles, and has recorded two interceptions this season.

Polamalu will make his sixth Pro Bowl appearance and his fifth as a starter after previously being named to the 2005-09 AFC squads. This season, Polamalu added several new volumes to his personal library of highlight-reel plays. Named AFC Defensive Player of the Week during consecutive weeks in December (Weeks 13 and 14), Polamalu is tied for the AFC lead with six interceptions, including one returned 45 yards for a touchdown in Week 14 against Cincinnati. His 81 tackles rank sixth on the team despite missing the last two games due to injury.

Pouncey is the first Steelers rookie offensive lineman to make the Pro Bowl since offensive tackle Frank Varrichione in 1956 and the first Steelers rookie since linebacker Kendrell Bell in 2002. Pouncey has started every game during his rookie season and became only the third Steelers’ offensive lineman since the mid-1960s to start the first game of his rookie season. Pouncey’s game has been defined as much by his ability to make calls along the offensive line as by his quickness which allows him to be an effective blocker on the second level. Pouncey’s outstanding play has enabled the Steelers to rush for more yards and allow fewer sacks than in each of the past two seasons.

Pro Bowl Notes:  The Steelers will send a linebacker to the Pro Bowl for the ninth time in the past 11 seasons and for the 17th time in the past 21 years…The Steelers are sending multiple players to the Pro Bowl for the 10th straight season and the 19th time in the last 22 seasons…At least three Steelers have made the Pro Bowl every season dating back to 2001…Pouncey becomes the fourth different Steelers center to make the Pro Bowl, dating back to 1988.

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