Here’s an extended version of the Pro Bowl interviews.
P DUSTIN COLQUITT
Q: Is it a surprise to you that this team was able to send five guys to the Pro Bowl?
“No, you’re talking about five really good players going to Hawaii. Jamaal Charles, I think he is a fantastic runner. You’ve got DJ (Derrick Johnson), who is unloading on people. He’s making a lot of tackles. Tamba (Hali) is one of those guys that you have to completely change your game plan before you go in and play him. I think every guy that we have that’s going, you have to account for. It doesn’t matter the record. You have to look at the individual.”
Q: How did you find out?
“RAC called me and just said, ‘Hey man, I’m really proud of you, and you made your first Pro Bowl, which was crazy.’”
Q: Who was your first phone call to?
“My dad, just because I had to rub it in. He’s rubbed in the Super Bowl ring for so long. I said this is what happened and he’s obviously thrilled. It’s a blessing and I thank the Lord for staying healthy. That’s one of the biggest things is staying healthy through the 16-game year and getting an opportunity to do this.”
Q: Did you talk to your brother (Broncos P Britton Colquitt)?
“Absolutely. He called and was like, ‘I made second alternate. What’d you make?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know yet.’ But, I was getting a call on the other line, so I was like, ‘I gotta go, I’ll call you back.’ It’s cool the way it happened, for sure.”
S ERIC BERRY
Q: Does this make those long days a little more worth it?
“Yeah, it’s just a sigh of relief. All the work I put in and everything I went through this offseason, as far as rehab and the stuff me and Jamaal (Charles) talked about, I think it was even better seeing him go as well. I’m just really excited.”
LB TAMBA HALI
Q: Were you surprised when you found out you made the Pro Bowl?
“Yeah, it’s surprising. You come out every game and play your hearts out. The defense is a team. It’s definitely an honor to be selected to see how much you mean to your peers in the league.”
Q: What did you learn from last year’s Pro Bowl that you’ll incorporate to this year’s trip?
“I’ll do the same thing, go in and just have fun with the guys that are there (and) try to learn from some of the best players I play against.”
Q: What was your favorite moment from last year’s Pro Bowl trip?
“Talking to my favorite player (Indianapolis Colts LB) Dwight Freeney on the bus; I watched Dwight growing up, that was memorable.”
LB DERRICK JOHNSON
Q: Is it still a big thrill to get elected to the Pro Bowl?
“Yeah, it’s always a big thrill. As a player, you want your work on the field to speak for itself. This is definitely a team game, so I had a lot of help to get to where I’m at now and credit goes to my defensive line, the guys that hold off blockers for me, let me run around and use my athleticism.”
Q: We see you play every play and see all the tackles, but you don’t have a ton of sacks and you don’t have a ton of interceptions – the things that usually catch peoples’ eye – so that must be even more gratifying, a little bit?
“Well, I definitely get a lot of tackles and tackles for loss, but interceptions, I have lacked at that this year. And due to the kind of defense we play on third down, sacks are not my job, I’ve got 2.0 right now, but Tamba [Hali] and [Justin] Houston are doing quite well at that job. There are a lot of things I could do better this year. I’m very hard on myself and like I said, struggling through injury this year, I’m glad I was able to get back on the field and try to help my team win. So, I’m very blessed.”
Q: Describe your first Pro Bowl.
“It was great. It was new. I didn’t know what to expect going to Hawaii. The weather’s great (and) I had all (of) my family, my wife and kid were there; it was just a great experience; I’m looking forward to it again.”
Q: What does it mean to have four of your teammates going with you to the Pro Bowl?
“It’s great. It’s always good to have some familiar company with you; I went with Tamba (Hali) last year and I’m going to be going with four other friends (this time).”
RB JAMAAL CHARLES
Q: How does it feel to earn a trip to the Pro Bowl?
“This does not go to me. It goes to the people that block for me, that made the way to get me there.”
Q: A lot of people think that your season has been overlooked because you’ve been quietly doing such a good job rushing the ball. Is that the kind of thing, just helping the team, that gets you going?
“Most likely. I go out there every week and work hard and I guess I’ve just got to keep doing it. A lot of people see that around the league; if you go out there and just keep continuing to work hard and you’re busting your tail and other teams, they see that.”
Q: You talked about this before, but just the gratifying part of overcoming the injury and all that adversity that you’ve had to face this year on and off the field?
“It’s just been a tough season for me and I think God didn’t put too much on me (that) I couldn’t handle. I’m just thinking I’m blessed that he gave me a talent. I go out there and perform every week and also I’m just blessed to have a strong faith that I can handle stuff off the field as well.”
Q: Is this season, this accomplishment bittersweet in that respect?
“I think especially coming off knee surgery; I think this feels like the most special thing that (has) ever happened to me, because I know how last year was for me, how hard I had to work to get back to where I’m at right now. I think this year was like a big year to show everybody that I really worked hard and this accomplishment really means something to me.”
Q: Given all the difficulties you had to deal with on and off the field, is it bittersweet?
“Oh yeah, I think this comes with a lot of sweetness. On and off the field just being a lot for me, and I thank God that he put me through and I’m not done yet, I’m almost there; I’m just happy to be at the end.”
Q: One of your workout buddies in the offseason is Earl Thomas. Do you guys talk at all about the chances of going to the Pro Bowl together?
“Oh yeah, me and Earl are best friends and we still hang out. We hang out in the offseason, we stay in the same area – Southeast Texas – and it’s big for Southeast Texas too, for me and him being from Orange and Port Arthur to make it to the Pro Bowl. And, I think it’s a real honor for Port Arthur and Orange.”
Q: What was your first Pro Bowl experience like?
“It was a great feeling, but I was looking at everybody else to see what to do; now, I get to do my own thing.”
Q: Were you nervous?
“Yeah, I was.”
Q: What’s it mean to you to have four of your teammates Pro Bowl bound as well?
“I think that’s real special to have someone else to hang around with now.”