Marshall passed over for Pro Bowl

EIGHT ISN'T ENOUGH

December 19, 1991|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

HERNDON, Va. -- Richie Petitbon says he's finally figured out what it'll take for linebacker Wilber Marshall to make the Pro Bowl.

"He's probably got to play a little quarterback, run back punts and he's got to be the top seller of Coke at halftime," the Washington Redskins assistant coach said jokingly after Marshall was bypassed in the Pro Bowl voting yesterday.

Overall, the Redskins were pleased that they had their largest number of players voted to the team (eight this year; they had seven five times before), including three who'll be making their first trip to Hawaii for the game Feb. 2.

Quarterback Mark Rypien, offensive guard Mark Schlereth and place-kicker Chip Lohmiller were the first-timers, as they joined cornerback Darrell Green, offensive tackle Jim Lachey, wide receiver Gary Clark, defensive end Charles Mann and running back Earnest Byner on the squad. Green is the senior player. He's made it five times in his nine-year career.

The Redskins, though, couldn't figure out how Marshall lost out to the San Francisco 49ers' Charles Haley for the third outside-linebacker slot behind Seth Joyner of the Philadelphia Eagles and Pat Swilling of the New Orleans Saints.

Marshall has had 71 solo tackles (plus 51 assists), five interceptions and 4 1/2 sacks. Haley has six sacks,49 tackles and no interceptions.

The Redskins also argue that Marshall is more of an all-around linebacker, while Haley is basically a pass-rushing defensive end playing linebacker.

"I think, in a lot of cases, it becomes a stat contest, and sometimes everything isn't written in stats," Petitbon said. "It's not like baseball. You've got a lot of intangible things to playing linebacker. In Wilber's case, I don't see how anybody could play that position any better this year."

Marshall seemed resigned to his fate. He's made the point numerous times that linebackers are judged too often solely on sacks.

"I think what's happening is that they go through the stats and see how many sacks everybody has," Marshall said. "I guess I have to have one of those 14-15-sack years to even be considered."

Marshall made the Pro Bowl in Chicago with six and 5 1/2 sacks in 1985-86, but that's when he was part of a Bears defense that terrorized opponents.

He joined the Redskins in 1988, when he signed a five-year, $6 million contract, but it wasn't until this year that he became the dominating player the Redskins thought he would be.

It also may hurt Marshall that he tends to antagonize opponents because he often gets into hassles.

"If players don't like you, that could happen, but it's not supposed to be a popularity contest," Marshall said of the voting, which is done by the players.

Another overlooked Redskin was wide receiver Art Monk. He's tied with Clark in catches with 66, but Clark is averaging 19.0 yards a catch and Monk is at 15.2.

Schlereth, drafted on the 10th round out of Idaho in 1989, seemed to be the most surprised by his selection.

"It hadn't even crossed my mind," he said.

Green said that his selection was "great timing, career-wise."

He was referring to the expiration of his contract at the end of this season. He has a good argument that he should be at the top of the salary scale for defensive backs.

The Redskins were one of four teams with eight selections. The Houston Oilers, Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Raiders also had eight.

The Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions tied for second in the NFC behind the Redskins with five each.

NOTES: Rypien said his middle finger was still sore yesterday, but he practiced and plans to play Sunday. . . . RB Keith Byars of the Eagles said he wants revenge because the Redskins called a timeout to let Chip Lohmiller kick a 26-yard field goal in a 23-0 victory over the Eagles in the opener. Coach Joe Gibbs first denied he had called a timeout to kick it. When he was told he had, Gibbs said: "I don't recall. I don't remember trying to run a score up or anything. I certainly don't remember that. I don't think I've ever been accused of that. I'll have to go back and look that up. If that happened, I really don't recall it."

Pro Bowl roster

x-starters

AFC

Offense

Wide receivers: x-Haywood Jeffires, Houston; x-Andre Reed, Buffalo; James Lofton, Buffalo; Mark Clayton, Miami

Tight ends: x-Marv Cook, New England; Ethan Horton, Los Angeles Raiders

Tackles: x-Anthony Munoz, Cincinnati; x-Bruce Armstrong, New England; Richmond Webb, Miami

Guards: x-Mike Munchak, Houston; x-Steve Wisniewski, Los Angeles Raiders; Jim Ritcher, Buffalo

Centers: x-Bruce Matthews, Houston; Don Mosebar, Los Angeles Raiders

Quarterbacks: x-Jim Kelly, Buffalo; Warren Moon, Houston; Dan Marino, Miami

Running backs: x-Thurman Thomas, Buffalo; x-Christian Okoye, Kansas City; Gaston Green, Denver; Marion Butts, San Diego

Defense

Defensive ends: x-William Fuller, Houston; x-Greg Townsend, Los Angeles Raiders; Neil Smith, Kansas City

Interior linemen: x-Michael Dean Perry, Cleveland; Ray Childress, Houston

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