NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In a changing of the guard -- and tackles and running backs and wide receivers -- 15 first-timers made The Associated Press 2008 NFL All-Pro team, which was announced Friday.
While such standbys as three-time NFL Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning and six-time All-Pro Ray Lewis made the squad, there was plenty of room for newcomers. Ten of the 14 offensive players and five of the 13 on defense had never been All-Pros.
And there was room for one unanimous selection by a nationwide panel of 50 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL: safety Ed Reed, Lewis' teammate in Baltimore.
Reed certainly did that this season with nine interceptions, and he had two, including one returned for a touchdown, in a wild-card victory over the Miami Dolphins last weekend.
"Wow. I don't know if you can put that into words," said Finnegan, a seventh-round draft pick in 2006. "That's a goal guys want to obtain in their years of playing football. That's the best of the best. That's humbling to ever think you could be voted on for that. I didn't look at that as a goal this year."
Asomugha becomes a free agent after the season and will be able to write All-Pro on his resume.
"The timing is good," he said. "I think it's always good to have certain things in your back pocket as far as leverage and negotiating. It was my fourth year the first time I made All-Pro."
"To get the whole swath in one year, that's great," Harrison said.
The slew of new All-Pros on offense included running backs Michael Turner of Atlanta and Adrian Peterson of Minnesota; fullback Le'Ron McClain of Baltimore; wideouts Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona and Andre Johnson of Houston; tackles Michael Roos of Tennessee and Jordan Gross of Carolina; guard Chris Snee of the Giants; placekicker Stephen Gostkowski of New England; and kick returner Leon Washington of the New York Jets.
"When you think about the Pro Bowl, it's the coaches, players and fans voting and recognizing you to represent your conference," said Washington, who averaged 25.6 yards per kickoff runback, with one touchdown, and 10.4 on punt returns. "But with the AP All-Pro team, you're representing the whole league. That's a pretty sweet deal."
Kansas City tight end Tony Gonzalez made his fifth All-Pro team. Gonzalez ended his 12th season owning the triple crown of NFL career tight end records: receptions (916), receiving yards (10,940) and touchdowns (76).
"I wanted to show everybody that I could still play at a high level, that I could still be a leader," said Gonzalez, who certainly did that with 96 catches for 1,058 yards and 10 TDs for a 2-14 team.
Tennessee center Kevin Mawae was chosen for the third time. Punter Shane Lechler of Oakland made his fourth team.
"It's a very big honor because it combines both AFC and NFC," said Snee, one of the anchors on the NFL's most impressive offensive lines. "There is so much talent at every position, but speaking of guards there is a lot of talent out there. I'm honored."
In all, 16 AFC players and 11 from the NFC were honored this season. Tennessee and Minnesota led with four players each, and Baltimore had three.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press