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Coles Earns Pro Bowl Trip After All

Wide receiver Laveranues Coles better revise his early February schedule: He has travel plans now.

The NFL announced Monday that Coles will represent the NFC squad at the 2004 Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii on Feb. 8.

Coles will be making his first trip to the league's annual all-star game by taking the place of Minnesota wide receiver Randy Moss, who will miss the game with a heel injury.

Pro Bowl reserve wide receiver Terrell Owens of San Francisco will also miss the game due to a collarbone injury. He will be replaced by Tampa Bay's Keenan McCardell.

Originally named a first alternate to the '04 Pro Bowl, Coles finished the 2003 season with 82 catches for 1,204 yards and six touchdowns. He finished sixth in the NFC and 11th in the NFL in receptions, and fourth in the NFC and seventh in the NFL in yards.

This season, Coles surpassed a modern NFL mark when he posted five catches or more in 19 straight games, dating back to last season while he played for the New York Jets.

Coles did it all despite playing much of the season with a stress fracture in his right toe. He said he suffered the injury in Week 3. But it was not painful enough for him to miss any playing time.

Through his play on the field and his ability to play through injuries, Coles also began to establish himself as a team leader.

"It was a disappointing season, but you have to be a professional," he said following the Redskins' final game of the season, a 31-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. "That's what I was brought here to do, to be a professional. We have to come back and try to get better next year. We have a whole offseason to look forward to."

From a franchise standpoint, Coles moved to fourth on the Redskins all-time single-season catches list, surpassing Ricky Sanders who had 80 catches in 1989. He had the most catches by a Redskins wide receiver or running back since 1989, when Art Monk recorded 86 catches.

This season, Coles recorded four 100-yard receiving games, one short of his career-high. He had a career day at Atlanta in Week 3, catching 11 passes for 180 yards (both career-highs) and one touchdown while the Redskins earned a 33-31 victory over the Falcons. His 180-yard performance finished as the fifth-best receiving performance in the NFL in 2003.

Three Redskins will represent the NFC at the Pro Bowl this year.

Coles joins linebacker LaVar Arrington and cornerback Champ Bailey, both of whom were named Pro Bowl starters earlier this month.

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