Injured tight end Heath Miller and center Maurkice Pouncey are the Steelers’ only two representatives on the AFC Pro Bowl team.
If no other Steelers players are added for the Jan. 27 game in Honolulu, this will be the fewest players they have had since 2001, when linebacker Jason Gildon was their only pick. They have had at least three selections every season since.
Not chosen were any members of the NFL‘s top-ranked defense, a slight that likely resulted from the Steelers (7-8) losing five of six games and falling out of playoff contention.
Last season, seven Steelers were selected.
Miller won‘t play after injuring three knee ligaments Sunday against the Bengals. He will undergo surgery Thursday. He also was selected in the 2009 season.
The tight end has a team-high 71 catches for 816 yards and eight touchdowns.
“It‘s definitely an honor to be named to the Pro Bowl team,” Miller said. “It‘s not why I play the game, and I am sure all of our guys would say the same thing. But you take it as a compliment. I wish it were under different circumstances.”
Pouncey, the NFL All-Pro center last season, has made the Pro Bowl in all three of his NFL seasons, but this will be the first time he plays.
“The first time we were in the Super Bowl, and last year, I didn‘t get to go because of offseason surgery. It means a lot to take my family to Hawaii,” Pouncey said.
Linebacker James Harrison made the past five Pro Bowls, but he was injured during the first month of this season. Safety Troy Polamalu, chosen seven of the past eight years, missed the majority of this season with a calf injury.
This story was written by Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.