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Chiefs and 49ers lead the way in Pro Bowl selection

(Reuters) - The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers each had a league-high eight players voted for next year's Pro Bowl in Hawaii among the selections announced by the National Football League (NFL) on Friday.

Running back Jamaal Charles and outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston were among the Kansas City choices, while running back Frank Gore, tight end Vernon Davis and inside linebacker Patrick Willis got the nod for San Francisco.

Willis earned his seventh call-up to the All-Star roster, becoming the first player from the 49ers to accomplish the feat in each of his first seven seasons.

"It's truly a blessing," Willis, a six-time All-Pro, said in a statement. "I couldn't do it without my team mates and my coaches. I have the best team mates in the world and I love playing with those guys.

"I thank my team mates, the fans who voted for me, the other players who voted for me and the coaches. I just thank everybody who had a part in it."

Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos, one of six quarterbacks selected, earned his 13th call-up after receiving the most votes (1.43 million) from the fans. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees was second with 1.2 million votes.

The other quarterbacks selected were Tom Brady (New England Patriots), Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers), Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers) and Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks).

Selection of 86 of the 88 Pro Bowl players was made through consensus votes by fans, players and coaches. The remaining two players were long-snappers selected by Pro Bowl coaches.

The 2014 Pro Bowl, to be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu on January 26, will be the first "unconferenced" edition in a significantly revised format.

Instead of the familiar American Football Conference versus National Football Conference match-up, which had existed from 1971, players were selected without any regard for their conference.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)

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