USA TODAY Sports
Feeling jobbed by the Pro Bowl selections this year? Don't worry. There's a good chance your favorite player can still make it.
You might be feeling a little betrayed, hurt right now. One of your favorite NFL players got snubbed in his bid for the 2013 Pro Bowl. An alternate? Behind that guy? The injustice stings. Let it out. Have a good cry and take comfort in the fact the alternate from your team actually has a pretty decent chance to play in the Pro Bowl after all.
Last year a handful of high-profile players backed out of a free trip to Hawaii. Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson declined his invitation last year. Bears linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher pulled out. Dolphins left tackle Jake Long missed the game because of an injury as well, so did Arian Foster, Frank Gore and Ray Rice.
The degree to which a player is too injured to play in the Pro Bowl depends. Miami sent Long to the injured reserve list on Dec. 28 last year with a torn triceps. It wasn't exactly the kind of injury a guy can play through.
Calvin Johnson's situation was a little different. The only player selected from the Lions, he set off a small storm of controversy when he declined to play in last year's version of the all-star game citing the need for rest.
"It's a season," Johnson said at the time. "Sixteen games of guys just colliding. It's not easy for nobody. Everybody needs time to rest up."
An Achilles tendon bothered Johnson down the stretch last year and into the team's opening weekend loss to the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs. Johnson was named to the roster again this year, obviously. We'll see what he decides this time around.
A total of 14 players selected to the 2012 Pro Bowl did not play because of injuries. Nine more missed the game because their teams were playing in the Super Bowl, including Tom Brady and Eli Manning.
This year's Pro Bowl rosters already list a few players dealing with injuries. 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith is currently dealing with an elbow injury. Steelers tight end Heath Miller is on injured reserve.
So what I'm saying is: there's a chance.