KANSAS CITY, Mo. —In yet another sign that good times are back at Arrowhead Stadium, the playoff-bound Chiefs had three players selected to the AFC's Pro Bowl roster.
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and running back Jamaal Charles will make their first Pro Bowl appearances. Guard Brian Waters will make the trip to Hawaii for the fifth time.
"It's hard for me to go crazy about this because everybody on this team has played such a significant role," coach Todd Haley said. "I'm happy some guys were recognized. I think all three of them deserve it."
The Chiefs haven't had more than three Pro Bowl players since the 2006 season, when they had four. That was also the last time the Chiefs made the playoffs.
They had no Pro Bowl representatives last year for the first time since 1978.
Among AFC teams, only New England (six ), Baltimore (five ) and Indianapolis (four) had more players selected. Six other teams also had three.
Quarterback Matt Cassel, with the third-highest passer rating in the conference, wasn't selected. New England's Tom Brady, San Diego's Philip Rivers and Indianapolis' Peyton Manning will go to Hawaii instead.
"I just know from his personality and his dedication that it will just push him more," Haley said.
Haley also cited linebackers Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson, cornerback Brandon Flowers and offensive linemen Ryan Lilja and Casey Wiegmann as players who were worthy of Pro Bowl recognition.
"Those are all guys in my mind and our staff's mind that we wouldn't have been surprised either way," Haley said.
"I'm disappointed for all the guys that have played so well for us that didn't get in. Everybody can't make it and everybody can't be recognized. The guys, whether recognized or not, have a bigger picture in mind. They understand winning big games will mean more to all of them down the road than any of the individual honors. It's a great thing to be recognized by your peers, but I really believe we've got a bunch of guys who want to do more and they want to be part of something special as a team."
Hali, third in the AFC with 12 sacks, was perhaps the biggest oversight. Pittsburgh's James Harrison, Miami's Cameron Wake and Baltimore's Terrell Suggs were selected instead.
A Pro Bowl appearance by Bowe seemed absurd early this season. He began slowly and dropped several passes, including one in the end zone in the second half in Indianapolis that would have put the Chiefs in the lead had he held on.
Beginning with a mid-October game in Houston, however, Bowe exploded. He had four 100-plus-yard games and 13 touchdowns in a seven-game period.
With 67 catches and 1,094 yards, Bowe lags behind the other three AFC Pro Bowl wide receivers — Indianapolis' Reggie Wayne, Houston's Andre Johnson and Denver's Brandon Lloyd.
But Bowe is the runaway leader in receiving touchdowns, with 15.
Charles continued the remarkable play he started midway through last season, when he replaced Larry Johnson as the Chiefs' featured back. Despite sharing the role this year with Thomas Jones, Charles is second in the AFC in rushing, with 1,380 yards.
His per-carry average of 6.4 yards is more than a yard better than any other ball carrier in the conference with more than 100 carries.
"I've talked so much about how critical it is to develop guys who are on your roster," Haley said. "Dwayne and Jamaal fall into that category. To see them develop and improve to the point where they're recognized by their peers is a really good thing for us.
"They bought in and they believe in what we're asking them to do. They believe and understand the expectations and the things we wanted them to do to be a part of this team and they dedicated themselves to that.
"Both of these guys are young, developing players that have done nothing but get better from day one."
Waters represents an offensive line that helped make the Chiefs the league's leading rushing team. Waters is 33 and playing in his 11th season for the Chiefs, so Haley couldn't describe him as a young, developing player like Bowe and Charles.
"Even at this stage of his career, Brian made progress," Haley said. "He rededicated himself to his craft and to this team and he bought in. When you have a veteran leader the caliber of Brian do that for you, that's a big thing. It had a big impact on our team making the progress it has."