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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Five Chargers named to Pro Bowl

SAN DIEGO – The Chargers have placed five players — all repeats — on the AFC squad for next month’s Pro Bowl.

Picked for his sixth straight all-star game was tight end Antonio Gates, named Tuesday with quarterback Philip Rivers, placekicker Nate Kaeding, left guard Kris Dielman and special teams standout Kassim Osgood.

It’s the third straight year Dielman has been selected and the third time in the last four seasons for Osgood, who was not chosen last year. Kaeding also was picked in 2006.

Five of their teammates — return specialist Darren Sproles, wide receiver Vincent Jackson, punter Mike Scifres, left tackle Marcus McNeill and cornerback Antonio Cromartie — were picked as alternates for the Jan. 31 game in Miami. Sproles is first alternate behind Cleveland's Joshua Cribbs; the other four players are third alternates.

No doubt the rosters for the Pro Bowl will be even more fluid than usual for this season’s game, since it was moved up in the calendar to the Sunday before the Super Bowl instead of the weekend after. Thus, the Chargers are hoping that none of them will be in the Pro Bowl, since that would mean San Diego’s in the Super Bowl. Also, it’s likely that players taking part in the conference championship games will be withdrawing even if their teams are eliminated in the AFC or NFC title games.

It’s the third such selection for Rivers, who’s yet to actually play in the Pro Bowl. He was chosen in 2007 and ’08, but opted out due to injuries. Gates also didn’t play the last two years for the same reason.