Willis, Justin Smith named to Pro Bowl
Patrick Willis (AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Patrick Willis (AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Posted Dec 28, 2010
Michael R. Martinez

LB Patrick Willis and DT Justin Smith earn spots in the Pro Bowl. And here's some GM news: Jed York is said to have interviewed former Rams personnel man Tony Softli.

We interrupt any updates about the San Francisco 49ers frenetic search for a general manager to bring you this news: Linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive tackle Justin Smith were named to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday.

For Willis, who was named a starter, it’s the fourth consecutive Pro Bowl selection. He’s the first 49ers player since safety Ronnie Lott to earn a spot in the game in his first four seasons in the league.

Smith earned his second Pro Bowl selection. He also made it last season.

Willis leads the team with 153 tackles and a career-high six sacks. He ranks fourth on the team with 96 sacks and is second with 5½ sacks.

Two other 49ers players, tight end Vernon Davis and running back Frank Gore, were named as alternates. Davis is a first alternate and Gore, who is recovering from a broken right hip and would not be able to play, is a fifth alternate.

Now, back to general manager talk. According to several reports, team president Jed York interviewed Tony Softli, former personnel director for the Carolina Panthers and St. Louis Rams, on Tuesday. Softli was let go by the Rams last June.

Although York is expected to interview several other candidates for the GM post, it’s possible he could name VP of player personnel Trent Baalke within the next two weeks.

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