PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Six Philadelphia Eagles made the 2018 Pro Bowl. Several others could have also made the NFC roster.
But most would rather play in a game the week after the Pro Bowl.
The annual event of the NFL’s best (before many find excuses to pull out of the game) is also an opportunity for players to enjoy the honor of being selected as the best in the business. Each year, several worthy candidates are left off the first selection of the Pro Bowl roster. While virtually every player would like to be named to the team, defensive end Brandon Graham chose to take the diplomatic approach when he didn’t make the cut this week.
“I’m just happy to be in the talks,” said Graham. “I’m appreciative of the votes and appreciative of everybody who voted for me. For me, I’ve just got to put another chip on my shoulder and keep working harder.”
While Graham may still go to the Pro Bowl as an alternate, he would be more than happy to miss the game for a different reason. The Pro Bowl will be played in Orlando a week before the Super Bowl, so players who make the Super Bowl won’t be playing in the Pro Bowl. Brandon Brooks will be one of the six who is currently slated to head to Orlando, but the offensive guard is clearly more focused on the ultimate team goal.
“My goals are bigger than that,” Brooks said. “It’s more of a team goal. The Pro Bowl is good and it’s a great individual goal and there is no denying that, but it’s not about individual goals for me,”
Brooks will be joined by Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson, Malcolm Jenkins and Zach Ertz. Carson Wentz was also selected, but the quarterback is just starting his recovery from his ACL tear. Among the other Eagles who had a strong Pro Bowl resume was center Jason Kelce, and head coach Doug Pederson made his case for Kelce to be selected.
“I think he’s played at a Pro Bowl level,” said Pederson. “As much criticism and critique and everything that he gets, he doesn’t get enough credit. He’s been solid all year long. He’s been nicked up with the ankle, as you know, and just continues to play at a high level. He would definitely be one that would be deserving of that honor, too.”
A trip to Orlando in late January is usually an offer few would refuse. As far as Graham is concerned, he would much rather by in Minnesota, the site of Super Bowl LII.
“We weren’t going to play in there anyway,” quipped Graham. “We’re trying to go to that Super Bowl.”