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Friday in Hawkville: Larry Fitzgerald says it’s ‘surprising’ that Richard Sherman was not voted to the Pro Bowl

Richard Sherman

KO OLINA, Oahu – Hawkville has moved to Hawaii this week, as six Seahawks are preparing to play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Today, we visited the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa as the NFC and AFC squads stayed “home” to practice:

FOCUS ON

Richard Sherman. What? The Seahawks’ cornerback isn’t even here. But then, that’s the point.

After intercepting a career-high eight passes during the regular season to tie for second in the NFL, Sherman was voted All-Pro, but not to the Pro Bowl – where the Bears’ duo of Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman are the starters for the NFC and the Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson is the third corner.

So we felt compelled to ask, “What’s up with that?”

“He had a phenomenal year. He really had a breakout year,” Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said today after the NFC’s 15-minute on-field session. “So it is surprising that he’s not here. But I know he’ll have many more moving forward.”

Fitzgerald has gotten to know Sherman quite well the past three times the NFC West rivals have met. In the 2011 season finale in Arizona, Sherman and fellow Seahawks corner Brandon Browner were so physical with Fitzgerald that he was coughing up blood on the sideline. This season, Fitzgerald caught four passes for 63 yards in the opener in the desert, with Sherman intercepting one pass and breaking up another. During the December rematch in Seattle, Sherman intercepted two passes, broke up a third and also recovered a fumble, while Fitzgerald caught one pass for 2 yards – despite being targeted 11 times.

“Hopefully, I won’t contribute to his stats as much in the future,” Fitzgerald said with a laugh.

Kick returner Leon Washington, one of the six Seahawks who are on the NFC squad, can relate to Sherman’s Pro Bowl snub.

“My first year in Seattle, I scored three touchdowns and didn’t go,” said Washington, referring to his trio of kickoff returns for scores in 2010. “It’s so weird. It works like that sometimes. But Richard is All-Pro. And that’s big. That’s almost bigger than the Pro Bowl.

“He’ll be here next year.”

MATT THOMAS HIRED TO REPLACE JOHN IDZIK

The Seahawks didn’t wait long to re-hire Dan Quinn as their defensive coordinator after Gus Bradley was named head coach of the Jaguars last week. They followed the same path after John Idzik left to become general manager of the Jets later in the week, as Matt Thomas was named today as the team’s new vice president of football administration.

“Matt is a well-respected salary cap expert and was recommended by many top-ranking NFL executives,” general manager John Schneider said. “I am excited to welcome him to our football family.”

Thomas joins the Seahawks after spending the past three seasons with the Browns in the same capacity as their salary-cap expert and chief contract negotiator. He began his NFL career in 1998 with the Dolphins and spent 12 seasons with the club, including being the vice president/general counsel & football administration in 2009.

A LITTLE ASSISTANTS, PLEASE

The NFC squad is being coached by Mike McCarthy and his Packers’ staff, which includes assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach Winston Moss. He played linebacker for the Seahawks from 1995-97 and finished second on the team with 106 tackles in 1996.

Greg Knapp, the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator in 2009, is a member of John Fox’s staff with the Broncos that is coaching the AFC squad. Knapp just joined the Broncos after spending the season as offensive coordinator of the Raiders.

AN EVEN DOZEN FOR CHAMP

Speaking of the Broncos, cornerback Champ Baily is taking part in his 12th Pro Bowl. But he definitely is not taking a ho-hum, just-another-week-in-Hawaii approach.

“I had a veteran tell me a long time ago, if you are willing to stop coming, you stop coming,” Bailey said. “Any time I’m invited to do something this special, I’m coming. Unless I’m really hurt, that’s the only way I would miss this game.”

STAT DU JOUR

Russell Wilson will become the fourth Seahawks quarterback to play in the Pro Bowl, as the rookie joins Dave Krieg, Warren Moon and Matt Hasselbeck. Here’s a look at how those other QBs have done in their Pro Bowl appearances:

Player, (season)                 Att.   Comp.   Yds.   TD   Int.

Dave Krieg (1984)              10        4           32       0      0

Dave Krieg (1988)              14        3           21       0      1

Dave Krieg (1989)              23      15         148       0      0

Warren Moon (1997)          8        4            89      0      0

Matt Hasselbeck (2003)      9        4            51      0      1

Matt Hasselbeck (2005)    17      10            85     0      1

Matt Hasselbeck (2007)      9         7            78     1      0

UP NEXT

Both Pro Bowl squads will hold their final practice on Saturday morning at Aloha Stadium.

After practice today, Wilson took part in a roundtable with Broncos QB Peyton Manning, Redskins linebacker London Fletcher and Packers center Jeff Saturday that will air Sunday as part of NBC’s coverage of the game.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It’s extremely unlike me. You know me, man. Me and media, we never mix. But this is a great opportunity.” – left tackle Russell Okung on the media attention that comes with being at his first Pro Bowl