TAMPA - Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and cornerback Darrelle Revis, cornerstones of a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that made significant strides in 2013, were selected to the Pro Bowl on Friday.
Revis and McCoy will represent the Bucs at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu on Jan. 26, but Lavonte David — nearing the end of a historic season — was not one of six outside linebackers selected in voting by fans, players and coaches.
In a break from Pro Bowl tradition, team captains Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will select the squads without regard to conference affiliation. The two Hall of Famers will draft their rosters Jan. 22 during a live NFL Network broadcast.
Tampa Bay’s defense has vaulted from 29th to No. 13 this season, and McCoy and Revis each played a pivotal role. Revis, acquired from the Jets in an April trade, earned his fifth Pro Bowl berth, despite ongoing recuperation from knee surgery throughout the season.
McCoy, the third overall pick in the 2010 draft, was named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl after seeing his first two NFL seasons undermined by biceps injuries. The 25-year-old former Oklahoma standout leads all players at his position with 15 tackles for loss, and he needs one sack in Sunday’s season finale at New Orleans to become the first Buccaneer with double-digit sacks since Simeon Rice in 2005.
Despite routinely drawing double teams, McCoy remains one of the league’s most disruptive interior linemen, relying on quickness and agility to create inside pressure and wreck running plays by knifing into the backfield.
“It’s difficult to make the Pro Bowl once,” McCoy said in a conference call Friday evening after the rosters were announced. “To make it two consecutive years is tough. It’s mentally draining to bounce back from season-ending injuries, but God has blessed me to push through those things.”
Revis, 28, tore up his knee in Week 2 last season with the Jets. Despite playing at less than 100 percent this fall, Revis reinforced his reputation as one of the premier cover corners of his generation.
He enters the matchup against the Saints with 47 tackles, two interceptions, a sack, two forced fumbles and a recovery — all while taking on the opposition’s best receivers.
Joining Revis as one of eight cornerbacks selected is former Buc Aqib Talib, who has excelled for the AFC East champion New England Patriots.
“It’s always an honor to get selected to the Pro Bowl, and I’m looking forward to participating in the new format,” Revis said. “While I still believe I’m capable of more, this selection shows that people around the league respect the way I prepare and play. I’m excited to be able to share the experience with Gerald, and I’m still holding out hope that Lavonte will be able to join us, because he’s very deserving as well.”
David, a second-round pick out of Nebraska in 2012, is the first linebacker in NFL history to post six sacks and five interceptions in the same season. He ranks fifth in the league with 137 tackles, adding two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery from the weakside linebacker spot Derrick Brooks defined for 14 seasons.
“I told Lavonte if I could take back my opportunity to go and give it to him, I would,” said McCoy, the first Bucs player to earn consecutive Pro Bowl honors since CB Ronde Barber (2004-06) and Brooks (1997-2006). “He got snubbed tonight. Darrelle definitely erased No. 1 receivers off the map. That’s what you get when you get Revis. It’s rare that you can find a guy like that in this league, but we have him.”
Revis earned his fifth career Pro Bowl selection in his first season with the Buccaneers. The seven-year veteran earned four consecutive Pro Bowl selections from 2008-11 while with the New York Jets before being traded to Tampa Bay.
Revis is one of five Tampa Bay defensive backs to be selected (Barber, five; John Lynch, five; Donnie Abraham, one; Wayne Haddix, one).