ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – To the surprise of many Bills fans, quarterback Josh Allen wasn’t selected to this year’s Pro Bowl. He was, however, named a first alternate.

But the Bills confirmed Thursday that Allen has declined to play in the event, which takes place the week before the Super Bowl.

In a text message to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Allen cited the need to let his body recover from a long season as the reason for skipping the game.

“Unfortunately I will be declining the invitation to play in the Pro Bowl this year in order to allow my body to rest and recover from the harshness of the season,” Allen wrote. “The type of quarterback I am, I obtain a lot of bumps and bruises along the road of a season, so I will use this time to let my body heal.”

Allen, 25, made his first Pro Bowl last season, though the NFL did not hold the game due to the pandemic. This year’s game will be held Feb. 6 in Las Vegas.

Allen is passing up a sizable paycheck by skipping the game – players get $80,000 if they’re on the winning team and $40,000 if they’re on the losing team – although those game checks pale in comparison to the more than $20 million he was paid this season after signing a contract extension with the most guaranteed money in NFL history.

Pro Bowl voting was also a point of contention for the Bills’ defense: Despite finishing the year with the fewest yards allowed and points allowed in the league, the Bills didn’t have a single defensive player named to the game.

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs was named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl while left tackle Dion Dawkins made the game for the first time, though neither was picked as a starter (full rosters). Other members of the team were designated as alternates:

  • 1st alternate: QB Josh Allen, LB Tremaine Edmunds
  • 2nd alternate: TE Dawson Knox, LB Tyler Matakevich
  • 3rd alternate: S Jordan Poyer, LS Reid Ferguson
  • 4th alternate: S Micah Hyde
  • 5th alternate: C Mitch Morse, K Tyler Bass

The AFC quarterbacks that made the Pro Bowl on the initial vote were Justin Herbert (starter), Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.