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Daniels added to Pro Bowl roster


Daniels finished the 2008 season with a career-high 70 receptions for 862 yards.

The Texans are sending an unprecedented three players to the Pro Bowl. Tight end Owen Daniels was added to the AFC roster on Tuesday in place of the San Diego Chargers' Antonio Gates, who pulled out of the game due to injury.

Daniels, who will join fellow Texans Andre Johnson and Mario Williams in the Feb. 8 game, received the news while he was at lunch with teammates Eric Winston and Chris Myers on Wednesday afternoon.

"(Texans general manager) Rick Smith called me, and actually, I didn't know the number so he left a message on my voicemail and I called him right back," Daniels said. "It's really exciting. I can't wipe the smile off my face right now, honestly. It's going to be cool to go out there and play with all the best players in the league."

In his third season out of Wisconsin, Daniels ranked second among AFC tight ends in receiving yards (862), third in receptions (70) and fourth in yards per reception (12.3). The former fourth-round draft pick combined with Johnson to form the NFL's most prolific receiver-tight end pairing with 185 total receptions for 2,437 yards.

{QUOTE}"I think the goal of every player is to get respect from their peers and from the coaches around the league," Daniels said. "Being the first alternate, it was showing the type of respect that I was starting to get it. That's what it's all about, and it means a lot to me."

As the first alternate, Daniels said he had been aware of Gates' injury but hadn't been paying close attention to the Chargers star's status.

"Not real close, but close enough to know that he didn't finish his last playoff game and was at least getting an MRI on his ankle or whatever the problem was," Daniels said. "I was waiting for today and I didn't think it was going to go in this direction or anything, but I'm happy it did."

Three Pro Bowlers marks a franchise high for the Texans, who previously had a pair of players in the game in 2002. The Texans are now the only team to send three players from the 2006 draft class to the Pro Bowl. Aside from Daniels and Williams, linebacker DeMeco Ryans started for the AFC Pro Bowl squad after the 2007 season.

Texans tight ends coach Brian Pariani, who coached record-setting tight end Shannon Sharpe in Denver, sees more Pro Bowls in the future for Daniels.

"He's worked really hard through the three years that he's been in the league, and he's done everything he can do to earn the respect of his teammates and also his peers in the league," Pariani said. "I think he's just starting to scratch the surface on the potential that he has. He works so hard to try to make himself a better player in the offseason, and obviously, hard work has been paying off for him. I think it'll just continue to be that way as he plays for the Texans."

  • denotes Pro Bowl starter
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