Defensive end Mario Williams is a Pro Bowl backup for the AFC squad. He spoke about what it means to him to make his second trip to the NFL's annual all-star game.
*DE Mario Williams *
(on being selected to the Pro Bowl for the second time) "I think around the NFL, being selected for the Pro Bowl, it's a thing of respect among your peers and everybody who plays football. To be selected again, it's definitely a great feeling and a great honor."
(on if this selection tells him his peers respect his play at defensive end) "Yeah. That's pretty much the same thing that happened to me my second year when I had those 14 sacks and things didn't go the right way. However you want to look at it—I've been on both sides of the door. It is what it is."
(on the Pro Bowl being played the week before the Super Bowl) "For it to be the week before the Super Bowl, clearly the average Super Bowl team is going to have players. Some might have one. Some might have seven or eight. Who knows? For it to be before the Super Bowl, it's kind of one of those things where you might have a whole side drop because they can't play because of the Super Bowl. It's one of those things that is kind of weird, but that's what was chosen this year and that's what's going to happen. If you've got guys in the Super Bowl, clearly they're not going to play in Pro Bowl."
(on most players being more than happy to not play in the Pro Bowl in favor of the Super Bowl) "Yeah, definitely. There wouldn't be any question about which game you want to be in. It just comes down to the fact of the NFL wanting to showcase the players and give them a reward for after the season, which is usually when this is. Now, all of a sudden, it's before the season ends, and it's like, 'Yeah, I made it to the Pro Bowl, but I'm not going to be able to enjoy the festivities and go out and mingle with the guys and just hang out.' Last year was my first year, but I could definitely say, it was a great experience, especially if it's your first one, going and seeing all the other great players and seeing what they're like outside of football."
(on how far the defense has come and the possibility of their first playoff appearance) "It's pretty clear how far this defense has come. One minute we're on pace to set the record for being the worst defense in the history of football and then all of a sudden we definitely climbed that ladder and turned things around. The difference in the defense is like night and day from what we were and have been in the past. Now, we just have to keep it up and keep chopping wood and as far as the playoffs and everything like that, we've got to go out and take care of our business and not worry about what happens to everybody else. Even if everything rolls our way, if we don't take care of our business, it's not going to do us any good. So we just need to stay focused and know that it's now a one game season. Whatever happens, it's definitely just determined by one game. We just have to play ball, play smart and play hard to go out and get the 'W'. Hopefully some other things will help us out."