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Seven Arizona Cardinals named to 2016 Pro Bowl

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, right, is congratulated by quarterback Carson Palmer after catching a pass during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Ram on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in St. Louis. With the reception, Fitzgerald has surpassed Andre Johnson as the youngest player to reach 1,000 career receptions in NFL history. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

The Arizona Cardinals are having one of the best seasons of any team in the NFL, so it should come as no surprise they are well represented in this year’s Pro Bowl voting as quarterback Carson Palmer, receiver Larry Fitzgerald, cornerback Patrick Peterson, defensive lineman Calais Campbell, special teams star/cornerback Justin Bethel, guard Mike Iupati and safety Tyrann Mathieu were all selected to play in the game.

In total, six Cardinals were selected to play in the game, which will take place in Hawaii the week before Super Bowl 50 on Jan. 31. If the Cardinals reach the championship game, their players will not participate.

Palmer is in the midst of a career-best season, throwing for 4,277 yards and 32 touchdowns with just nine interceptions in 14 games. He has set a Cardinals single-season franchise record for touchdown passes, and needs 338 yards over the Cardinals’ final two games to set the mark for passing yards, too. Palmer has been to two other Pro Bowls, in 2005 and 2006, as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

On the receiving end of many of Palmer’s passes this season is Fitzgerald, who has tallied 99 receptions for 1,131 yards and seven touchdowns, all marks that lead the team. The 32-year-old has been to the Pro Bowl eight times in his career, most recently in 2013.

This is the fifth time in five seasons Peterson has been selected for the game, though this is easily his best campaign as a pro. The 25-year-old has just two interceptions, but that number is low because opposing quarterbacks have generally shied away from throwing to his man, no matter who it has been.

Campbell was named to the game for the second time in his career, with the first being last season. A defensive lineman who has seen time mostly on the interior this season, he has notched 2.5 sacks, one fumble recovery and two passes defensed.

This is the third selection for Bethel, all for his work on special teams. He leads Arizona with 13 special teams tackles this season.

Iupati, a free agent pickup this offseason, has helped solidify the left side of Arizona’s offensive line and paved the way for an improved running game. It is his fourth straight Pro Bowl nod, with the first three coming while he was a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

A safety, Mathieu was named to the team for the first time. He was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a torn ACL, but this season he had notched 89 total tackles, five interceptions, 11 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and 16 passes defensed. He was selected as the NFC Defensive Player of the Month in November and was the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after the Cardinals’ Week 3 win over the 49ers.

Along with those seven, which is the most for the team since 1977, running back Chris Johnson was selected as an alternate. Prior to suffering a leg injury, the first-year Cardinal ran for 814 yards and three touchdowns on 196 carries.

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