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Eagles Pro Bowl selections… and a look at annoying NFL-type relatives…

Before we go deep into Redskins-at-Eagles final game preview mode, we will relax one more day and celebrate the Eagles who are selected for the 2011-12 Pro Bowl…

LeSean McCoy was voted into his first Pro Bowl, chosen as the starting running back on the NFC squad, and the first person he called was . . . Joe Banner? “I said, ‘I need a new contract,’ ” McCoy said.

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He was joking, of course, but it won’t be long before the Eagles president reaches out to McCoy and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to start negotiations on a contract extension that will keep the third-year tailback in Philadelphia for years to come. McCoy, 23, headlined the Eagles’ list of Pro Bowl invitees for 2011, announced Tuesday night. That list, selected by players, coaches, and fans, included left tackle Jason Peters and defensive end Jason Babin. The three were among the best at their respective positions, and even a disappointing Eagles season couldn’t keep them out of the all-star game.

All three were voted in as starters. Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins is a first alternate, and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was selected as a second alternate.

McCoy will start ahead of reserves Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears and Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers. He earned a spot over franchise running backs Adrian Peterson of Minnesota and Michael Turner of Atlanta. “It means a lot, man, because I work hard for this stuff,” McCoy said. “I worked hard to be one of the best backs in this conference.”

Some day he will be paid as one. McCoy has one year remaining on his rookie contract, but the Eagles may want to lock him up long-term during the offseason. McCoy, a native of Harrisburg, said that he wants to remain an Eagle.

Jason Peters, the 29-year-old left tackle, making his fifth consecutive appearance in the Pro Bowl, had perhaps his best season. Peters flourished under new offensive line coach Howard Mudd, who has his athletic linemen initiate contact at the snap.

The 31-year-old Jason Babin’s career revival continued with his second straight Pro Bowl invite. The defensive end, who bounced around the league through the first six years of his career, has become a sack machine under the guidance of defensive line coach Jim Washburn.

All well and good… and nice to see DT Cullen Jenkins and CB Nnamdi Asomugha get honorary mention…even if in Nnamdi’s case it might be more about lifetime achievement than what he actually produced on the field for the Eagles this season.

But to lighten the mood for the last time this 2011 season, I’d like to bring in Will Horton, a tremendously talented writer for the St. Louis Rams, who concocted this humorous “Year In Review” piece for us….

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Will’s piece is entitled:

“Which Annoying Relative is Your NFL Team?”….

One of the unspoken traditions of Christmas, or Hannukah, or Festivus, or your holiday of choice, is that you wind up spending a lot of time around family members that you rarely ever see, and even more want to see. Drawn out by the lure of presents, or food, or just because they’ve stored up a year’s worth of uncomfortably close hugs and they’ve got to get them out now, these annoying relatives help make the holiday something you endure, rather than something you enjoy.

Being an unabashed Rams fan, it struck me that I myself am in danger of becoming an Uncle Rico, who can’t stop talking about how awesome things were back in 1999. (Man that was awesome! I mean, really! Makes me want to build a time machine!)

But this week I’m visiting my family in Bucs country, where they’re suffering through a similar, but different, kind of misery than I am. And I just picture the NFL as this huge family gathering, full of people who you’ve come to realize are equally – but uniquely – annoying.

Arizona Cardinals: Quiet, humble guy finally home from the military. You get the feeling that he’s seen some crazy stuff over the past few years, but feel kinda weird asking him about it. No one really knows what to say to him, and he’s kinda okay with that.  

Atlanta Falcons: One of your younger aunts that you think is really pretty and was your favorite when you were little. She still seems happy but for whatever reason, she didn’t bring anyone home with her, and family members avoid talking about “Russ” around her. No one will tell you who he is or what’s going on, but you get this feeling there’s something weirdly wrong.  

Baltimore Ravens: Big. Loud. Drinks all the time but never seems drunk. A hand-crusher and a back-slapper and a stomach puncher. Will give you a shiny half dollar out of his pocket, though.   

Buffalo Bills: The Dean Moriarty of the family, a young guy with a strangely luxuriant beard that has stays eerily silent in any large gathering, but if he gets you one on one will talk your ear off about road trips to Canada that sound vaguely illegal. Constantly forgets to tell the punchlines to his jokes, and you’re not sure that they are jokes, but he’s laughing all the same. 

Carolina Panthers: The Talent. Whatever you can do, he can do better, and you kind of hate him but you also kind of admire him for it. Because he’s kind of charming and carefree about it. But everyone expects great things from him, and you know there’s a 30% chance he’ll turn into a total burnout. 

Chicago Bears: That potato-faced uncle who apparently spends all of his time down at the veterans’ hall each week. Very much needs a drink, but your familiy wants to keep him sober at all costs. He can and will tell you war stories until your ears fall off. 

Cincinnati Bengals: The family’s bad girl. Offered you a cigarette when you were fourteen. She was twelve. She only shows up every few years and you’re pretty sure she’s been in rehab more times than you’ve been in detention, but everyone’s playing nice because she seems kind of cleaned up this year.

Cleveland Browns: A hugger and a cheapskate and a re-gifter. Has worn the same sweater in the last fifteen years of family photos. Reminds you of Rodney Dangerfield. 

Dallas Cowboys: Bottle-blonde aunt who is constantly changing clothes between planned activities. Has formal denim wear and like a million pairs of sunglasses. She drives a cherry red fox-body Mustang that smells like two decades of cigarette smoke, and whispers when she curses. 

Denver Broncos: Oh god. THAT guy. Just run away, get the hell out of there or you’ll get sucked in to an hour-long conversation about What It Takes To Succeed, which has something to do with your personal relationship with Jesus (and how it’s not nearly as close or as awesome as his relationship with Jesus, but it could be). You’ll hear him having the same conversation at least five times with different people. Including the waiter at the Golden Corral. 

Detroit Lions: The ugly girl that you grew up with that came home this year and is suddenly, shockingly, stunningly beautiful. You wonder if she holds it against you that you never used to talk to her. (She does.) 

Green Bay Packers: Drove here on a motorcycle, and will take you for a ride. You have no idea how you’re related. Smiles a lot, knows how to fix things, loves his grandmother, and he legitimately, honestly wants to know how you’re doing. You so totally want to be this guy when you grow up, but you know you never will. 

Houston Texans: The gawky kid who’s about to finish his senior year in high school and go off to college. You can’t believe he’s actually grown up. You vividly remember him wetting his pants at his much-older sister’s wedding, years ago. He does too, but tries to pretend that he doesn’t.

Indianapolis Colts: A really, really smart guy who went off and became a dot-com millionaire, then came back home and lorded it over everyone. No one knows what his company was supposed to be doing. Now utterly bankrupt, and his skin looks clammy. 

Jacksonville Jaguars: She just got out of a series of bad relationships but is so totally in love with this new guy and swears that this time it’s different. Her new boyfriend has lady hair, won’t look anyone in the eye, and if you ask him what he does for a living, he smirks and says “I get by.” You’re pretty sure you hate him, and that he’s going to break her heart again. 

Kansas City Chiefs: The family trainwreck. Seems kinda nice, but his house just got foreclosed on. He’s sizing up your folks’ place and you know he’s going to ask you to ask them if he can crash with you guys for a while until he gets sorted out. You have no idea how to tell him no. 

Miami Dolphins: Gaudy, over-perfumed aunt with wine-tinted sunglasses that match her hair. Quite obviously has not had a man in her life for a very, very long time. Her laugh sounds like an air raid siren.  

Minnesota Vikings: Showed up this year with one fewer leg than last year. Out of politeness, you stifle your immediate reaction, which is to say “Oh my god what happened to you?” and give him a big hug. Now you’re waiting for someone else to ask him, so you can find out. 

New England Patriots: Disgustingly rich, and notoriously cheap. Gives the worst presents every year. Your Mom tells you that he has a job opening at his factory, which would kind of suck but you need the work. So you try to act responsible and adult-like around him, and you wonder how people do this all day. 

New Orleans Saints: Was always kind of a screw up when you were young, but really cleaned himself up a few years ago. Now is so deadly earnest about everything that it kind of freaks you out. Seems to blink less than other people. 

New York Giants: That older uncle who will take you aside, ask about your job prospects, and lecture you about responsibility. Has been known to quote Ayn Rand at the dinner table. You later come to find out that he owes a ton of money to most everyone in the family, and refuses to pay anyone back. 

New York Jets: He used to be your favorite uncle, never took anything too seriously, always ready with a funny story. That was before he promised to let you stay with him up in New York for a week, and then came up with some lame excuse to back out of it. Just like he promised to take you water skiing last year, and flaked on that too. 

Oakland Raiders: Has been partying for years and years, but might have finally sobered up. Still 100% batshit Charlie Sheen crazy, though, and you love him for it. Until he parks his blaze orange Datsun 280Z on top of your dog, that is. 

Philadephia Eagles: You have no idea what happened. Last year, this guy seemed like he had everything totally figured out. But his girlfriend apparently ditched him at the altar, and you hear things haven’t been going so well this year. Is drinking morosely in the corner.  

Pittsburgh Steelers: Not really a part of the family at all, but has been friends with your Dad for so long that he might as well be. Has this awesome property on the lake with a rope swing on it. He is routinely getting into minor scrapes with the law, which makes your Mom worry about whether you should be talking to him.

San Diego Chargers: At first she seems really normal, like she finally got herself together. Then, as you’re opening presents, she just starts sobbing. When your aunt tries to comfort her she lashes out and spills wine on herself and your Mom’s white couch. It’s 9:30 in the morning, and you know it’s just going to get worse from here. 

Seattle Seahawks: It’s kinda funny to see this kid all dressed up in a nice sweater, talking politely with all the adults, because back in his room he has the biggest stash of porn DVDs of anyone you know. What’s weird is that his Mom seems to know, and she doesn’t seem to care. 

San Francisco 49ers: Every hello turns into a hug. Every hug turns into a hammerlock and a furious noogie. You have been known to hide behind furniture when you hear him coming. 

St Louis Rams: Uncle Rico. (See above). 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The family embarrassment. Seemed to have some promise, but pretty much gave up on everything a couple of months ago. The family has all decided to close their doors on him. “Tough love,” they call it. He calls them all hypocrites and peels out in his custom van that he’s been living out of. But not before asking you if you have any bud.

Tennessee Titans: This kid just lost his dad and came into a whole bunch of money, and you can tell he’s trying to handle it the right way and everything, but he just isn’t ready for the responsibility. A part of you wants to trade places with him, and a part of you really doesn’t. 

Washington Redskins: That one aunt who shows up with her two kids and immediately starts slapping them both around, telling them both to shut up even though they haven’t said anything yet. Both kids seem to be used to it. Later, the older one shows you a lighter that he stole from her purse, and bets he can hold his finger in the flame longer than you can, while the younger one takes a pen and draws penises on the pages of your comic books. You wonder how many bad decisions can possibly live under one roof.  

Thanks for the laughs, Will…We Eagles fans need ‘em right now… Now onward to the season finale against the Redskins!!

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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