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Ryans, family taking in Pro Bowl


DeMeco Ryans has everything he wants in Hawaii now that his family has arrived.

KAPOLEI, Hawaii *– *The first person that DeMeco Ryans called after learning of his Pro Bowl selection was his mother, Martha, who probably has more to do with her son's success than anyone else.

"I actually think my mom knew before I told her, so she was already excited about it," Ryans said. "I called her up and told her I was going to Hawaii and asked who's going (with me)? I have six people that came (here) out of my family."

Indeed, Ryans finally has arrived at the biggest stage of his blossoming career, surrounded by the best players from the NFL in an idyllic setting.

More importantly, though, he's joined by those people that have played the biggest role in his life, which gives Ryans the biggest satisfaction.

"It means a lot," he said. "When the game kicks off, just to know that my family is going to be out there in the stands watching me, I have to do something a little extra special for them."

{QUOTE}When Ryans thinks back over the past two decades and remembers all of the games that his family attended, and how his mother encouraged him in his athletic and academic pursuits, he can't help but feel a tremendous amount of gratitude.

"Just by my mom showing me her work ethic…by working two to three jobs just to provide for us –it's just showed me how to work hard, and if you want to get something in life, you have to work hard to achieve it," he said. "That's what I picked up and that's what's gotten me here to this point today."

With only two NFL seasons under his belt, Ryans is one of the younger Pro Bowlers in attendance. Nevertheless, this trip has been a long time coming. He played in Hawaii twice in college, and promised to never return to the Aloha State unless he was voted to the Pro Bowl.

After an eye-opening rookie season in 2006, when Ryans validated his second-round status and then some with an NFL-high 126 solo tackles to go along with one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one interception, many expected him to earn a Pro Bowl invitation.

When that didn't happen, the Pro Bowl snub motivated Ryans to even greater heights in 2007, as he again led the Texans in solo tackles (98), adding one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and one interception that he returned for a touchdown. He accomplished all of that with a knee injury that slowed him for most of December.

"When you look at it, should he have taken a break?" head coach Gary Kubiak said of Ryans in his season-ending press conference. "Should we have made him take a break? You're probably right, but that's what the kid is all about. He wasn't coming out of there, and that's why his teammates love him. That's why he's their leader."

To make sure that he could participate in the Pro Bowl, Ryans rehabbed feverishly with Texans athletic trainers over the past several weeks.

Now that he's enjoying the perks of Pro Bowl week with his family by his side, Ryans knows that all of his hard work and patience has paid off.

Of course, with family around, Ryans' free time is limited. When he invited them to the Pro Bowl, his family members could hardly contain their enthusiasm.

"They were all excited and thankful that I was bringing them out to Hawaii," Ryans said. "For a couple of them, this is their first time ever coming to Hawaii. So they're excited and ready to see the island, go sight-seeing, shopping and just ready to chill out.

"We don't have anything specific planned. They just love to get out and walk and just sight-see and see different things. They're staying over at the Hilton (in Waikiki Beach), so there is a lot of stuff for them to do over there."

And what about the pressure to return to Hawaii now that his family and friends have experienced the joys of Pro Bowl week?

"Oh, yeah, it is a little added pressure," Ryans said. "I was joking with Zac Diles yesterday. I was like, 'When we come next year we're going to be doing this and doing that.' He was like, 'Oh, yeah? Next year?' I was like, 'Yeah, we're going to be back next year.' It's all in the works. I just have to go out and make it happen."

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