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49ers send nine to Pro Bowl

The San Francisco 49ers led the way among NFL teams after having a total of nine players voted into the Pro Bowl.

Six of the 49ers selected were from the NFC West team's vaunted defence, with a total of three linebackers - Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman - being chosen.

Aaron Rodgers was named as the NFC's starting quarterback for the all-star exhibition contest, which will be played in Honolulu on January 27. Rookie Robert Griffin III is one of his two back-ups.

Adrian Peterson capped his remarkable comeback from a serious knee injury by securing the starting running back spot, while Calvin Johnson was named as the top receiver following a campaign in which he broke the single-season record for receiving yards.

Peyton Manning, who has led his new team the Denver Broncos to one of the best records in the NFL after missing all of 2011 with a neck injury, was selected as the starting quarterback for the AFC.

"I know there's great players out there in the NFL, but there's some great players on this team (Denver) this year that deserve to go," Manning said.

The 36-year-old will be going to the Pro Bowl for the 12th time and won the starting spot ahead of New England Patriots star Tom Brady, who makes the selection for the eighth time.

Third quarterback Matt Schaub was one of eight Houston Texans voted in, the AFC South winners having Arian Foster and Andre Johnson selected as a starting running back and wide receiver respectively.

Despite owning the worst record in the NFL at 2-13, the Kansas City Cheifs had five players selected, tied for fourth among teams in the AFC and joint fifth overall.