The timely shaft

The timely shaft

The Oakland Raiders should be upset. And it has nothing to do with Pro Bowls. Look at the season? What has the play of any one man meant?

The bigger story Tuesday regarding selections to the Pro Bowl for the Raiders was who didn't make it, rather than who did.

It appeared that accomplishments in 2005 counted as much or more than those in 2006 when defensive end Derrick Burgess was named to the AFC team and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was not.

It's not that Burgess wasn't a worthy selection. He has a team-high 11 sacks in 2006 and was the NFL leader with 16 last season. In 30 games as a Raider, Burgess has 27 sacks.

"If you're not on a wining team, you've got to lead the league in something to make the Pro Bowl," free safety Stuart Schweigert said. "Derrick Burgess did it last year."

Burgess made the team as a reserve, the third of three ends, behind starters Jason Taylor of Miami and Aaron Schobel of Buffalo.

While Burgess had a track record based on his strong 2005 that helped with the selection process, Asomugha came out of nowhere in his fourth season, blossoming as one of the NFL's standout cornerbacks.

He admitted to being disappointed. The Raiders are having one of their better seasons defensively, giving up only 285.6 yards per game, and are ranked No. 1 in pass defense at 151.6 yards per game.

"It's the all-star game for this season and I feel you should be judged by this season, not for what you've done for the last five years," Asomugha said. "Not making it, it didn't only deflate me, it deflated our defense because of the way we're playing we expected to have a few guys in there this year."

Coming into the season with no interceptions in his first 48 games, Asomugha had two interceptions in Week 3, including a 24-yard return for a touchdown, and has seven for the season.

The AFC starting cornerbacks are Denver's Champ Bailey and Jacksonville's Rashean Mathis, with Baltimore's Chris McAlister in reserve.

Bailey is the NFL co-leader in interceptions with eight, while Mathis has seven and McAlister five.

New England's Asante Samuel, tied with Bailey with eight interceptions, was not selected.

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