Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles is the third-leading vote-getter in the balloting for the 2014 Pro Bowl, the NFL announced Wednesday.
By RANDY COVITZ
The Kansas City Star
Charles’ 453,761 votes trail only Denver quarterback Peyton Manning’s 654,309 and New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees’ 540,036.
Four other Chiefs are leading the votes at their positions — defensive tackle Dontari Poe (181,342), outside linebacker Tamba Hali (169,597), safety Eric Berry (82,770) and punter Dustin Colquitt (89,051).
Balloting will conclude Dec. 26, and the Pro Bowl players will be announced Dec. 27. The 2014 Pro Bowl will be played on Jan. 26 in Honolulu.
The players will be determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 88 All-Star players who will be eligible for the Pro Bowl Draft.
Instead of the traditional AFC vs. NFC matchup that has existed since 1971, players will be selected without regard to conference.
Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher (shoulder) and defensive ends Tyson Jackson (abdominal strain) and Mike DeVito (knee sprain) did not practice on Wednesday. Guard Jon Asamoah (calf and shoulder) was limited.
“They’re all day to day,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.
Defensive back Sanders Commings (shoulder), linebacker Derrick Johnson (wrist), defensive lineman Mike Catapano (ankle), tight end Anthony Fasano (knee/ankle) and fullback Anthony Sherman (knee) were full participants.
The Chargers said offensive tackle King Dunlap (neck), linebacker Jarret Johnson (hand), cornerback Johnny Patrick (concussion) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (toe) did not practice, while wide receiver Vincent Jackson was limited.
Stuckey, Gachkar home
Former Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey of Washington High and former Missouri linebacker Andrew Gachkar of Blue Valley West are two of the Chargers’ top special-teams players, with four tackles each. Stuckey also has a fumble recovery.
“Our special-teams coaches rely on them on being the spokesmen and the vocal leaders for the special teams,” Chargers coach Mike McCoy said. “Gachkar did a great job earlier in the year when he played some linebacker for us. Stuckey has been in some defensive packages for us, and you love the way the two guys approach the game and the way they work. They show up every day and do their job.”
The Chiefs dropped four passes in Sunday night’s loss at Denver in what seems to be a growing problem. Charles dropped two passes, and Donnie Avery and Dwayne Bowe one each.
“You have to focus on the football,” Reid said. “In particular, we’ve seen a lot of man coverage in the last few weeks. It’s tight coverage, it becomes a physical game, and you have to focus that much more on the football and stay aggressive on the ball.”
Burden in, Opurum out
With injuries cropping up in the offensive line, the Chiefs re-signed offensive lineman Chandler Burden to the practice squad and released fullback Toben Opurum.
Burden, 6 feet 4 and 310 pounds, spent six weeks on the practice squad this season before he was released on Nov. 12. Opurum, who played at Kansas, has spent all season on the Chiefs’ practice squad after signing as an undrafted free agent this year.
Go East, young man
The Chargers, who visit the Chiefs at noon Sunday, played at Miami last weekend. Earlier this season they played at Philadelphia and Tennessee in consecutive weeks, as well as visited Jacksonville and Washington. They’ll log 26,932 air miles this season, second to the 32,948 by San Francisco, which included a trip to London.
But the Chargers aren’t blaming jet lag for losses by three points at Tennessee; six at Washington or four points at Denver.
“It’s part of it,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “There’s nowhere for us to go but east.
“We can’t use that as an excuse. The traveling didn’t make us not get a half-yard (at the goal line) at Washington … it didn’t keep us from getting another stop at Miami. That’s an easy way out. We just haven’t gotten it done on the field.”
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