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Calvin Johnson, Jared Allen lead All-Pro voting

By Barry Wilner

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Jan. 6 2012 1:35 p.m. MST

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 7-8 - FILE - In this Aug. 13, 2011, file photo, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and head coach Mike McCarthy bump fists on the sidelines during a preseason NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland. The big names are the same, but the Packers are a different team than the one that won the Super Bowl last season. Instead of going on the road to win their way in as a wild card, they'll have home-field advantage in the NFC.

Amy Sancetta, File, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Calvin Johnson took one look at the voting and smiled broadly.

"That's sweet," he said, as he studied The Associated Press 2011 NFL All-Pro Team. "That's one of the best honors you can have other than being a Super Bowl champion. To be an All-Pro is a tremendous honor."

Johnson and Vikings defensive end Jared Allen were the leading vote getters, each just one vote shy of being a unanimous pick.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers made the team for the first time, easily beating Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, 47½ to 2½. Rodgers led Green Bay to a league-best 15-1 record this season, after taking the Packers to the Super Bowl title last February.

"I am a competitor," Rodgers said. "I care desperately about winning and doing everything I can to contribute. But personally, speaking for my own self, you learn exactly what you need to do to be able to balance the pressure from the outside with the pressure from within, that you put on yourself to be successful. Last year's run is really going to help all of us and our preparation through the week."

Johnson and Allen received 49 votes Friday from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. It was the fourth All-Pro Team for Allen, who led the league with 22 sacks, one-half short of the record. Johnson made it for the first time after hauling in 96 catches for a 17.5-yard average and scoring 16 touchdowns.

"The All-Pro Team to me is one of the all-time accomplishments," said Allen, who also was selected in 2007 through 2009. "Pro Bowls are nice, but guys get voted in longer than they should and guys who deserve to go don't always get to. It's the whole league. It's not just an AFC and NFC thing. So to me this is the honor I hold the highest. It's something to put on the resume and tell the grandkids about."

One rookie made the squad: Arizona's Patrick Peterson was selected as the kick returner. Peterson tied an NFL mark when he ran back four punts for touchdowns, including a 99-yarder in overtime to beat the Rams.

"It's special to be the only rookie on the list and a nice way to end my first NFL season," said Peterson, a cornerback.

Another cornerback, Darrelle Revis of the Jets, was behind Johnson and Allen with 48 selections. Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs got 47.

One oddity: Both first-team guards, Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans, were from the Saints. That hasn't happened since 1953, with Detroit's Lou Creekmur and Dick Stanfel.

"That's a great honor and that's a long time since it happened," Nicks said. "I think this shows it's recognized that we are strong and physical and not just big guys. We are athletic enough to pass protect 45 to 50 times a game and keep Drew clean."

In the All-Pro backfield joining Rodgers, whose quarterback rating of 122.5 broke Peyton Manning's single-season mark, were Maurice Jones-Drew of Jacksonville, LeSean McCoy of Philadelphia, and fullback Vonta Leach of Baltimore.

It's the first All-Pro selections for Jones-Drew, the league's rushing leader with 1,606 yards, and McCoy. Leach made it last year with Houston.

"It is a 'we' thing, not a 'me' thing," Jones-Drew said, praising his teammates on offense and his coaches. "The guys who don't get the glory and keep blocking all day, and the coaches who don't get enough credit, it's for them."

McCoy scored 20 touchdowns, 17 rushing, and was the brightest spot in a down year for the hyped Eagles. Yet ...

"There are so many things I can do better," he said. "I look at the numbers and see so many plays I left on the field, so many yards. I can perfect my game a lot more."

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