The Buffalo Bills were shut out of the Pro Bowl voting on Wednesday.
For the third straight season, the Bills did not land a single player in the NFL’s all-star game, which will be played Jan. 27 in Hawaii.
Bills safety Jairus Byrd arguably had the best credentials to be selected. However, Byrd was beaten out at the safety position by Baltimore’s Ed Reed, Kansas City’s Eric Berry and the New York Jets’ LaRon Landry.
It’s still possible a Bill could get a trip to Hawaii. The Bills’ last representative in the game came two years ago, in 2010, when defensive tackle Kyle Williams went as a first alternate. He made the trip due to an injury to another player.
If the Bills don’t get a replacement spot in the game, it will be the first time the franchise has gone two straight seasons without a Pro Bowl player since 1985 and 1986. Each of the next 22 years, through 2008, the Bills had at least two players who made the Pro Bowl. Byrd was the lone Bill in the game in 2009, his rookie season. Williams was the lone Bill the next year.
Other Bills who figured to have a decent shot to make the team but were beaten out included running back C.J. Spiller and return man Leodis McKelvin.
Byrd is enjoying arguably his best season. His five interceptions are tied for the AFC lead with New England safety Devin McCourty. He’s third on the Bills’ defense in tackles with 80.
However, the Bills disappointing season – they’re last in the AFC East at 5-10 – did nothing to help promote their individual honors. While the Bills’ defense ranks 13th in passing yards allowed, it’s 22nd in total yards allowed and 31st in points allowed.
“It wasn’t meant to be this year, but congrats to all that made the Pro Bowl,” Byrd wrote to his Twitter followers after the voting was announced.
The 27-year-old Byrd is the Bills’ top impending free agent. His four-year contract is up after this season. He has 18 career interceptions, tied for third most in the NFL over the past four seasons. Atlanta cornerback Asante Samuel has 23. Green Bay safety Charles Woodson has 19. Next are Byrd and Baltimore’s Reed.
Spiller was beaten out at running back by Houston’s Arian Foster, Baltimore’s Ray Rice and Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles.
Spiller ranks third in the AFC in combined rushing and receiving yards (1,572), behind Charles and Rice. But Spiller is fifth in the conference in rushing yards, behind Charles, Foster, New England’s Stevan Ridley and Tennessee’s Chris Johnson.
“It’s not going to take away from what me and the offensive line and the guys that were blocking were able to do this year,” Spiller said.
McKelvin was beaten out by Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones.
Only one return man gets picked. McKelvin leads the NFL in punt returns with an 18.7-yard average and has two return TDs. Jones leads the NFL in kickoff return average at 32.1 yards and has three return TDs.
McKelvin has 18 kickoff returns, two shy of the number needed to qualify for the league leaders. But his average return of 28.3 yards would rank fourth in the AFC. McKelvin was placed on injured reserve last week but was still on the ballots that went out to players, coaches and fans.