FRISCO, Texas – It's quite an interesting mix of names that were selected to the Pro Bowl this week.
On one hand, three of the Cowboys' five selections are first-timers. Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs have taken the NFL by storm this season, establishing themselves as two of the league's most exciting young defenders by reaching the Pro Bowl in their first and second professional seasons, respectively.
Bryan Anger has been around the league a bit longer, but finally accomplished a career goal with his first Pro Bowl selection in Year 10.
Then, there's the other end of the spectrum, where Zack Martin and Tyron Smith continue to compile Hall of Fame-caliber resumes with their seventh and eighth Pro Bowl nods, respectively.
Smith was unavailable this week while he rehabs his ankle injury, but here were the Cowboys' other four Pro Bowlers' responses to the news:
On being named to the Pro Bowl – "It means a lot to me. Just being able to go to the Pro Bowl and just being able to go up there with all those great players that I once looked up to and I always asked those guys for help, so it's just paid off and I just appreciate those guy as well. It's a great honor and I appreciate it, like truly thankful."
On sharing the news with his brother, fellow Pro Bowler Stefon Diggs – "We FaceTimed our whole group message. There's probably like 15 of us just family and friends and we were just all on FaceTime. It was kind of like an exciting moment because that's good stuff. Like that was real cool. Probably one of my favorite moments of this year for real because that's my brother and I love him to death and just being able to go up there with him, that's fire."
On being named to the Pro Bowl – "It's so surreal. Unbelievable feeling. Words can't describe the emotions I feel and the emotions my family felt for me. I'm just so grateful for the opportunity to come here and you guys embraced me and helped me to perform and things like that. Just an unbelievable feeling right now."
On being the 12th rookie in franchise history to make the Pro Bowl -- "It's amazing. I know how many Hall of Famers and talented players have came through here, and to join that list of 12 good men, it's pretty awesome. It just shows that it's a good start, but I've got a lot more work to do."
On getting back to the Pro Bowl after missing in 2020 -- "Obviously it's a huge honor and definitely a goal this year after last year, not getting in there. Coming back and just keep working on my game and take it to another level. A ton of honor. Very proud of some of the things we've accomplished this year. But obviously I'd love to not be in Vegas at that time of year."
On his team goals for 2021 -- "At this point in my career, I'm focused on winning the whole thing. Obviously, it's a great honor and I want to push myself to continue to get better each year. But for me, right now, I've got bigger things on my mind than that."
On how he got the news – "I had a bunch of buddies, we were actually watching the TV and they didn't even show the specialists on the TV reveal. We thought we had tuned in a little late, but we found out right when it was released."
On playing for special teams coordinator John 'Bones' Fassel -- "Bones, as a coach, is amazing to play for. Super thankful for him. If you look back and see the number of Pro Bowl punters that he's had in his tenure, it's insane. He's doing something very right, very thankful for him. Couldn't have done it without him, couldn't have done it without my teammates."