The four Seahawks Pro Bowlers all have different reactions to the nod

RENTON, Wash. — Gratitude for making it was the common theme among the four Seahawks picked into the Pro Bowl this week — quarterback Geno Smith, safety Quandre Diggs, cornerback Tariq Woolen and kicker Jason Myers — have been from there the reactions are different.

Smith, whose selection as one of three quarterbacks for the NFC Pro Bowl team could pay the most of any Seahawks to make it given the chance to go freelance after the season, Thursday insisted honored after seven years as a backup that he felt no confirmation of this.

“Not at all,” said Smith, 32, who had not been an Opening Day starter earlier this year since 2014, an eight-year hiatus that was the longest for an NFL QB in more than 50 years. “I think it’s just because I’m playing well, which is what I expect. I don’t feel validated by this. I think winning would give me some validation. I think that would be it for me. Of course I am grateful, but there is no confirmation.”

The Pro Bowl nod meant Smith earned an additional $500,000 as part of an incentive to throw 20 or more touchdown passes (he has 26) and make the Pro Bowl. It only adds to a resume that has improved this season to a level that might have surprised anyone in the NFL but Smith.

“He always talked like that,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Smith, stressing he didn’t need outside validation. “That’s how he thinks and that’s how he acted. Look at him, did he sway at all? He hasn’t. The only way it could happen is if you foresaw it and have the mentality that this isn’t out of range. He writes his own story. There aren’t many people who can claim what he did here.”

But for Diggs, who was last carted off the field on Jan. 9 in Glendale, Ariz., with a broken fibula and a dislocated ankle, the Pro Bowl call-up as a starter was the best of the three times he’s made it so far.

“The first is special, the second is cool,” said Diggs, who managed to get through the three full seasons he played in Seattle. “But if you stray from something that I strayed from, you’ve seen the videos, you’ve seen the videos, and it’s on the internet every day. People tag you in these things and you see these things. So you look up and thank God that you can be out here playing this game. I’m blessed to play every snap and go out and compete with my boys.

“Who would have thought in January that I would make it? This one is definitely special and definitely means more because I know what I went through last offseason.”

Myers was named after he’s scored 26 of 27 field goals that year — a 96.3 percentage, that’s two percentage points better than any other kicker in the NFL — including all six of 50 or longer, which is a team record for the most 50-yarders fielded in a season.

It’s a season that marks a sort of rebound from 2021, when Myers only made 17 of 23, 73.9%, the second-lowest percentage of his eight-year career.

Myers insisted he never lost faith in his abilities and didn’t change anything during the offseason, with the Pro Bowl nod — the second of his career (2018 with the Jets) — showing his confidence in what he was doing had, had paid.

“I just have high expectations for myself every year,” said Myers, who, like Smith, will be a post-season free agent. “You never look forward to a year where nothing falls, but it does happen as a kicker in the NFL. All you have to do is sit back. And to see my work come out is great.”

That Woolen did it a few months ago might have been an even bigger surprise than Smith considering Woolen was a rookie who came into the league as the 153rd overall pick from the University of Texas-San Antonio, which didn’t do so until 2011 once had a program Woolen is the first UTSA graduate to make the Pro Bowl, in part due to the strength of six interceptions, which was the most in the NFL.

“It’s crazy,” Woolen said. “We’ve had the program for 12 years and I think it’s one of the greatest things to do because if people go back 100 years they will see that Tariq Woolen was the first Pro Bowler. It’s pretty cool because all the other schools have a history from 1800 to 1900, whatever. It just feels good to do it at my school and to be able to put my school on the map.”

Woolen said when the call came this week he wasn’t surprised, saying, “I feel like I’ve earned enough respect in the league so far to be able to play in the Pro Bowl.”

Pro Bowl selection will eventually mean a big payday for Woolen as it will qualify him for a likely at least $2 million Proven Performance Escalator in the final year of his rookie contract in 2025.

“That’s another great story,” Carroll said. “He showed early in the camp that there was something to it. We just hung out and hung out and before you knew it he was teaming up with our best guys and doing a good job. It just meant, ‘Let’s see what happens, let’s go with him.’ He handled it really well. He was really humble, I don’t know how he was with you guys today, but he was just humble and very confident in all of this, so we’re really proud of what he’s achieved and the coaches who’ve helped him to get through this.”

https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2022/dec/22/seahawks-four-pro-bowlers-all-have-different-react/ The four Seahawks Pro Bowlers all have different reactions to the nod

Brian Ashcraft

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