By Tim Graham
When Buffalo Bills return man Leodis McKelvin was placed on injured reserve today, many assumed he immediately became ineligible for the Pro Bowl because he would be stricken from the ballot players and coaches will use to vote Friday.
Like one of those narrow creases McKelvin often squirts through for a big return, he narrowly made it through an important stage in the process and remains a candidate for all-star honors.
A league source informed me this afternoon the player/coach Pro Bowl ballot already had been finalized and distributed before McKelvin's season officially came to an end. So he still could be chosen for the Pro Bowl after all.
If McKelvin gets voted to the Pro Bowl and wants to play, he would need to pass a physical first. But even if he's selected, undergoes surgery and has no intention of traveling to Honolulu -- let alone playing in the game -- then he still would be considered a Pro Bowler for the 2012 season.
McKelvin ranks first in punt returns with an 18.7-yard average and fourth in kickoff returns with a 28.3-yard average.
McKelvin returned two punts for touchdowns this year, most in the league. His 88-yard touchdown in Week Two against the Kansas City Chiefs is the NFL's third-longest punt return this year. He also had a 79-yard TD in Week 11 against the Miami Dolphins.
McKelvin is tied with Cleveland Browns return man Joshua Cribbs (who won Pro Bowl fan voting in the AFC) with the NFL lead of seven punt returns of at least 20 yards.