DeMeco Ryans is thrilled to start at linebacker in his first-career Pro Bowl appearance.
Linebacker DeMeco Ryans was chosen as a starter for the 2008 Pro Bowl on Tuesday. After his selection, Ryans spoke to the media about the honor.
Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans
(on how it feels to be named to the Pro Bowl) "I'm feeling great right now. This is a big day for me. This is a huge accomplishment, and it's not only just a personal accomplishment. I couldn't have made it without my teammates – (DE) Mario (Williams), (DT) Amobi (Okoye), (DT) Travis (Johnson), all the defensive linemen, my linebackers, (LB) Morlon (Greenwood), (LB) Danny (Clark), (LB) Charlie (Anderson), and also two great coaches in (defensive coordinator) Richard Smith and my position coach, Johnny Holland. Without him teaching me every day getting better – that's what we focus on, getting better every day – just adhering to that and trying to do that got me here to the Pro Bowl."
(on how this ranks with his rookie of the year award last year) "This is really above that. To be in the Pro Bowl, this is the biggest accomplishment that you can make personally as a player because you want to be touted as one of the best in the NFL. And first of all, it's just a dream come true just to be playing in the NFL, but to actually become a Pro Bowl player in the NFL is huge and I never dreamed that it would be that way in only my second year in the NFL, so this is a huge accomplishment for me."
(on what he was doing when he found out) "I was at home laying down and coach (Gary) Kubiak called me and he gave me the good news, and I just started smiling from cheek to cheek. I was excited and just blessed to be in this position."
(on the addition of veteran linebackers in the offseason) "The addition of (LB) Shawn Barber and (LB) Danny Clark, it was huge for me, because those guys shed so much light, so much knowledge, in our room. It's amazing. I wish everyone could just sit in our room and just listen to the interaction between the players and (linebackers coach) Johnny (Holland), it's just amazing, like we're all coaching each other. They just talk so much about playing the position of linebacker, about life, about being an NFL player with finances and just everything there is to know, so my ears are just wide open to those guys because they've been in the league over eight, nine years. So guys that have been in it that long, they understand how to get it done, and those are the guys who I definitely listen to."
(on feeling a sense of redemption after not being happy about being drafted in the second round last year) "There was a lot of criticism about me not being big enough coming into the league or not being the fastest guy, but all that, it can't measure being a true football player. And that's what I am, just a true football player who loves the game, just high-energy, high-passion every time I step on the field, just having fun. And just to come in thinking I was a first-round draft pick and not being a first-round draft pick, it's kind of a little edge on your shoulder trying to prove people wrong, prove to people that I was worthy of that first-round selection. But to come in in the second year and be in the Pro Bowl, it's like, 'OK, here it is, I'm a Pro Bowl player,' and I'm happy to be here and doing it with the Houston Texans."
(on if he was surprised that DE Mario Williams was not selected) "Yes, I was definitely surprised that (DE) Mario (Williams) wasn't named. This guy is second in the league in sacks. He's been tearing it up the past weeks and he's been doing a great job, a phenomenal job, and it's a shame that he got overlooked. But I think whoever is our coach for the Pro Bowl, the AFC team, they get to pick a special needs player and they should definitely pick Mario because I think he's very deserving of that."
(on S Will Demps being named an alternate) "(S) Will (Demps) kind of came in late. He's caught on well to our system and he's provided that muscle in the back end. If the receivers catch the ball, they have to be looking for number 47. He's going to come in and lay hits. It's great to have an intimidator there in the back end. He's played well for us on such a short notice in trying to learn the scheme of our defense. He's fit in well and been an exceptional player for us."
(on being voted in by his peers) "It means a lot to me, because it's not just a popularity vote. It's guys that I've faced, that I've played against, and they know and understand what type of player I am out on the field. And to have the acknowledgment from your peers, that's the way you want it to be, from people that really know how it is out there on the field. That's huge. It's just like my teammates voting me MVP of the team. It means so much from me to come from the guys that I'm around every day and they see how I work every day, come to work, go at it. It means a lot when you get it from your peers."
(on who he first called upon hearing the news) "I called my mom, but she didn't answer (laughs). She's out with the grandkids shopping, so I finally got in touch with her a few minutes ago. They were all excited."
(on what's next for him after winning rookie of the year and now being named to the Pro Bowl) "Playoffs, championship. That's what I'm going for. Super Bowl."
(on if he has ever been to Hawaii) "Yes, I have actually been to Hawaii twice in college. We were on probation my first two years in college, so for our own little bowl game we played Hawaii the last game of the season and went over."
(on if he liked Hawaii) "Yes, it was a good place to be. I said I wasn't going back unless I made the Pro Bowl. It's a long flight, but for a Pro Bowl, I'll go over, no doubt about it."
(on if he has been saying that since college) "Yes, definitely."
(on what his friends say to him now about going back to Hawaii) "It's just something I said to myself more so than just letting other people know about it. But I told myself, if I come back out here, it'll be for a Pro Bowl."
(on if that's because he didn't like the flight) "(Laughs) Yes, that's a long flight."
(on S Will Demps being named an alternate) "That's a huge accomplishment for (S) Will (Demps), coming into our system late in the season and performing the way he has performed for us, picking up on the system. That's a big accomplishment for him because it's not easy coming in and trying to learn a system so late, but the way he came in and he produced well for us, it's not a surprise to me, because he's been playing well."