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Weddle named All-Pro safety
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SAN DIEGO – Eric Weddle received one of the most respected honors an NFL player can receive during his career, earning first-team All-Pro honors by vote of The Associated Press.
Weddle already had been named to his first Pro Bowl in addition to earning Chargers’ Defensive Player of the Year and being chosen to the USA Football All-Fundamentals Team, a testament to his 2011 season.
“It’s definitely a huge honor and humbling,” Weddle said. “It shows that hard work pays off. It’s all about consistency and playing at a high level and I want to continue to be one of the best safeties in the league.”
The All-Pro team chooses the best players at each position in the entire NFL, combining conferences into one squad. The Associated Press voted Weddle ahead of Baltimore’s Ed Reed, Seattle’s Earl Thomas and Arizona’s Adrian Wilson.
Weddle tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions, a career high. His 93 tackles paced the Chargers’ secondary and were third on the team. He was the most consistent player on San Diego’s defense this season, breaking up passes, offering run support and often acting as a stop gap on the back end to prevent big plays.
“I think it’s overall consistent play,” Weddle said when asked what might have impressed voters. “I made a lot of plays on the ball, whether it’s picking off a pass or covering my guy and knocking down a pass. I’ve tried not to give up big plays. It’s just being sound in all phases and being an overall good football player.”
Weddle made game-clinching interceptions against Kansas City and Miami in back-to-back weeks, helping San Diego to a 4-1 start.
Weddle shared second-team All-Pro status last year with several players before signing a five-year contract with the Chargers through 2015.
“Eric has gotten better each year. It was important for us during camp to get him to a long-term contract and he has certainly made another step in terms of his progress as a football player,” Head Coach Norv Turner said.
“You see a young guy who each year has made progress as a player and who’s gotten better. When he had a couple situations (this year) where he didn’t play as well as he would like to or we would like him to, he responded the very next week and played his best.”
The All-Pro team is selected by a national panel of 50 media members.
2011 Associated Press First-Team All-Pro
QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville
RB LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia
FB Vonta Leach, Baltimore
TE Rob Gronkowski, New England
WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit
WR Wes Welker, New England
T Jason Peters, Philadelphia
T Joe Thomas, Cleveland
G Carl Nicks, New Orleans
G Jahri Evans, New Orleans
C Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh
K David Akers, San Francisco
KR Patrick Peterson, Arizona
DE Jared Allen, Minnesota
DE Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants
DT Haloti Ngata, Baltimore
DT Justin Smith, San Francisco
OLB Terrell Suggs, Baltimore
OLB DeMarcus Ware, Dallas
ILB Patrick Willis, San Francisco
ILB NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco
ILB Derrick Johnson, Kansas City
CB Charles Woodson, Green Bay
CB Darrelle Revis, New York Jets
S Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh
S Eric Weddle, San Diego
P Andy Lee, San Francisco
QB Drew Brees, New Orleans
RB Ray Rice, Baltimore
RB Arian Foster, Houston
FB John Kuhn, Green Bay
TE Jimmy Graham, New Orleans
WR Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
WR Victor Cruz, New York Giants
T Duane Brown, Houston
T Joe Staley, San Francisco
G Marshal Yanda, Baltimore
G Logan Mankins, New England
C Ryan Kalil, Carolina
C Nick Mangold, New York Jets
K Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland
KR Devin Hester, Chicago
DE Justin Smith, San Francisco
DE Jason Babin, Philadelphia
DT Geno Atkins, Cincinnati
DT Vince Wilfork, New England
DT Richard Seymour, Oakland
OLB Tamba Hali, Kansas City
OLB Von Miller, Denver
ILB Brian Cushing, Houston
ILB London Fletcher, Washington
CB Jonathan Joseph, Houston
CB Carlos Rogers, San Francisco
S Ed Reed, Baltimore
S Earl Thomas, Seattle
P Shane Lechler, Oakland Read