A little Pro Bowl holiday cheer for the Washington Commanders before Christmas

While the game has become a joke, the honor still means something to the players

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Jeremy Reaves
Jeremy Reaves
Image: Getty Images

Being named to the Pro Bowl as a starter has always been among the highest individual honors an NFL player can attain. Although the actual game has lost its appeal over the years and become a bit of a joke in the eyes of fans and former players, the selection process, coupled with hearing the news for the first time, still means something to many current players.

That’s never been more evident than in Washington, where the team filmed head coach Ron Rivera delivering the news personally to a few of his guys, capturing the heartfelt moment in real time. Each player’s reaction is priceless, but Jeremy Reaves’ meant the most to everybody. And it’s good to see some good news come out of Washington every once in a while.

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Reaves was an undrafted free agent who signed with Washington in 2018 and bounced around the team’s practice squad the past few years. It’s been an uphill battle for Reaves in the NFL. After losing his biggest supporter, his mother, in November 2021, this season has meant so much more to the free safety.

It doesn’t matter the position/unit, whether it’s special teams, offense, or defense. Being named a Pro Bowl starter still affects players, as it means you’ve arrived in a way. You’re recognized around the league as one of the best, if not the best, at your position. Every player strives (or should) to achieve that goal when they become a pro.

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Even though Pro Bowl Sunday isn’t what it once was, having the opportunity to hear your name announced as a Pro Bowl starter is something to be proud of and excited about. Although there’s no longer a traditional game played on Pro Bowl weekend as it’s been replaced by a skill competition, it still seems just as important. Some players are in the league for years and never make the pro bowl as a backup or alternate. So, it was nice to see such a hard-working young man, who all the players seem to love, accomplish such a feat.