Rice and Robbins were among a group of five Raiders to get selected to the Pro Bowl, which will be played the weekend following the Super Bowl. Quarterback Rich Gannon, offensive right tackle Lincoln Kennedy and free safety Rod Woodson will join Rice and Robbins.
Gannon leads the NFL in passing yardage (4,409) and his headed to his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl. The 40-year old Rice is at an age where most players have long since been retired. Rice, however, is making his 13th Pro Bowl of his 18-year career and first since 1998. He has 87 catches for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns.
Woodson leads the AFC with six interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns and is headed for his 11th Pro Bowl. Kennedy is going to his third Pro Bowl in as many seasons while Robbins has rebounded from missing 14 games last season with a torn ACL in his knee after getting passed over on a few other occasions he was deserving of the honor.
Here are the reactions of those players along with left offensive guard Frank Middletown, who felt he got snubbed:
Lincoln Kennedy: "It's a tremendous honor and puts into perspective how much people respect you."
Rod Woodson: "It's always an honor to be respected by your peers and fans. It's nice to bask in the sunshine after the season."
Barret Robbins: "Just like every year I anticipated it but tried to focus on the things I could control, I'm very happily surprised. Now that I'm there I want to show them why."
Jerry Rice: "I feel it's an extension of my teammates. You always look forward to it because you put in a lot of hard work."
Rich Gannon: "It's always an honor but I'm more excited for the other guys, especially someone like Barret Robbins."
Frank Middleton: "I ain't happy for the other guards. I can't name four guards that are better than I am. If you don't make it you're going to be disappointed. There's a lot of guys that don't deserve to make it. They should take the fan votes out and let your peers vote."
Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org