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1 BYU footballer in Pro Bowl

Published: Thursday, Jan. 27 2011 12:51 p.m. MST

The NFL Pro Bowl is this Sunday in Hawaii, and several participants boast Utah connections: Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata prepped at Highland High, Bucs offensive tackle Donald Penn attended Utah State and Panthers tackle Jordan Gross played for the University of Utah.

But what about BYU?

There's a single Cougar on the Pro Bowl rosters — and it's such an obscure name that it's the kind knowledge with which you could undoubtedly stump countless friends, coworkers and family members.

Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel is a good guess. But even though the man with the world's coolest beard earned his first Pro Bowl selection this year, he won't play in the game because he's busy prepping for the Super Bowl on Feb. 6.

The only BYU alum playing in Sunday's Pro Bowl is Dolphins long snapper John Denney. Last week the NFL announced that New England coach Bill Belichick, who will be coaching the AFC team in the Pro Bowl, had chosen Denney to be his long snapper.

The 32-year-old Denney is a six-year NFL veteran. Before becoming a long snapper full-time upon entering the NFL, he was a defensive end at Ricks College and BYU. From 2002-04, Denney recorded 94 tackles while starting 29 of 32 games.

"It's an honor to be named to the AFC Pro Bowl team and it always feels nice to be recognized by people attached to the game," Denney said. "These opportunities are not possible without a great supporting staff like Dan (kicker Dan Carpenter), Brandon (punter Brandon Fields), Rizz (Special Teams Coach Darren Rizzi), and Bono (former Special Teams Coordinator John Bonamego), along with everyone else on the special teams. You don't expect a long snapper to be recognized and it's a testament to all the hard work they all put in over the course of my Dolphin career. I'm looking forward to representing the team and joining Cam (Wake) in Hawaii."

e-mail: jaskar@desnews.com

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