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Early Pro Bowl returns are in

Preliminary fan voting results for the 2009 Pro Bowl are in, and three Texans currently sit in the top five at their position in the AFC. Voting ends Dec. 9; here's a look at where they stand in the **fan vote** – which comprises a third of the Pro Bowl selection process – as of Nov. 19:

WIDE RECEIVER1. Denver Broncos Marshall, Brandon 232234
2. Indianapolis Colts Wayne, Reggie 223583
3. Houston Texans Johnson, Andre 1981064. New England Patriots Moss, Randy 188138
5. Pittsburgh Steelers Ward, Hines 175818
Andre Johnson is a distant third in voting among AFC wide receivers despite the fact that he leads not only the AFC but the entire NFL with 955 receiving yards. The two-time Pro Bowler is third in the league with 71 receptions. Marshall has 63 catches for 803 yards. Wayne has 56 grabs for 790 yards.

DEFENSIVE END 1. Houston Texans Williams, Mario 1633712. Indianapolis Colts Freeney, Dwight 152659
3. Tennessee Titans Vanden Bosch, Kyle 136928
4. Tennessee Titans Kearse, Jevon 116498
5. Pittsburgh Steelers Smith, Aaron 67436
At this point, Mario Williams looks like he won't be snubbed from the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive season. A year after finishing third in the NFL with 14 sacks, Super Mario leads all AFC defensive linemen (ends and tackles) with eight sacks.

INSIDE LINEBACKER1. Baltimore Ravens Lewis, Ray 168566
2. Pittsburgh Steelers Farrior, James 102515
3. Pittsburgh Steelers Foote, Larry 65078
4. New England Patriots Bruschi, Tedy 49780
5. Houston Texans Ryans, DeMeco 41536DeMeco Ryans, who started for the AFC in the Pro Bowl last year, is going to need a surge of votes to help him make a return trip to Honolulu. He leads the Texans with 73 tackles this season and leads all NFL defenders over the last three seasons with 280 solo tackles. Ryans posted back-to-back 11-tackle games in Weeks 10 and 11.

Nowhere to be found – notable omissions from the top five:

Tight end Owen Daniels – Daniels is second in the AFC in receptions (45) and yards (555) behind only Tony Gonzalez. But the top-five in tight end voting goes like this: Antonio Gates, Gonzalez, Dallas Clark, Heath Miller and Kellen Winslow. Which might have been what prompted Andre Johnson to officially start **campaigning for Daniels today in the locker room.**

Running back Steve Slaton – After his 156-yard rushing outburst against the Colts, the rookie ranks third in the AFC with 701 rushing yards, trailing Chris Johnson and Thomas Jones. Slaton leads all AFC backs (minimum 100 carries) with an average of 5.1 yards per carry. And he's tied for first among all NFL rookies with seven total touchdowns this season.
Current top-five vote getters:Ronnie Brown, LaDanian Tomlinson, Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, Maurice Jones-Drew

Kick returner Jacoby Jones –Jones is first in the AFC (minimum 10 returns) with a 14.4-yard average on punt returns, first in the AFC with two punt returns for touchdowns and tied for first in the conference with four returns of 20 yards or more. Current top five:Darren Sproles, Jones-Drew, Joshua Cribbs, Leon Washington, Roscoe Parrish

Kicker Kris Brown –Brown is a perfect 14-of-14 on field goals this season, making him the only kicker in the NFL with 10 or more attempts yet to miss. He's 26-of-26 on extra points.
Current top five:Rob Bironas, Adam Vinatieri, Jeff Reed, Sebastian Janikowski, Matt Prater


Johnson and Williams look like they're on their way to Honolulu. For the rest of the Texans, including Ryans, there are still three weeks of voting left - and the Texans have a Monday Night national spotlight game on Dec. 1, just before the last week of voting. If the players keep putting up Pro Bowl-worthy performances, plenty can change.

Be the change, and* ***vote today.**

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