Just 34 months after he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in April of 2006, guard Davin Joseph found himself in the NFL's Pro Bowl. Looking back, another 35 months later, he's not sure he fully appreciated that rapid rise at the time.
In a little less than two weeks, Joseph will take the field in Honolulu, Hawaii as an all-star for the second time. The fact that he didn't get a Pro Bowl nod following the 2009 or 2010 seasons has left the sixth-year pro with a different perspective on what it means to be chosen to play in this exclusive game. He is set to fly to Hawaii this coming Sunday, with three Buccaneer O-Line teammates in tow (James Lee, Donald Penn and Jeremy Trueblood), and he is doing so with a new attitude born of that perspective
"I'm really just looking forward to the experience," said Joseph. "The last time I went, I don't know if I really had the appreciation for it. I really didn't understand how hard it is to get to the Pro Bowl. After the last two seasons without getting to the Pro Bowl, I figured out that it's pretty tough. So I cherish it a little bit more this time."
Joseph learned of his second Pro Bowl selection on December 27th, when the AFC and NFC squads were announced on the NFL Network. The next day, as he met with the local media and reacted to the honor, he emphasized how he felt it should be shared with the rest of his offensive line teammates. With more time to reflect, he obviously thought about what the selection meant to him, personally, as well. In January, he sat down with Buccaneers.com to discuss those thoughts, and other issues surrounding his upcoming trip to Hawaii.
That entire interview, conducted by Takara Fuller, will be posted for viewing on Buccaneers.com this Thursday, January 19. Fuller also spoke at length with Joseph about his entire football career, his life before the NFL and the path that brought him to where he is now. That interview will appear on Buccaneers.com on Friday, January 27, just two days before Joseph and his fellow NFC all-stars will try to take down the AFC's best for the second year in a row.
Joseph is the Buccaneers' lone Pro Bowl selection in 2011, but he said in December that he fully expects to be joined by several of his teammates in the coming years, if he is fortunate to be named an all-star for a third or fourth time. In his recent interview, Joseph tabbed two of his offensive teammates as young men he would specifically like to see get the Pro Bowl nod, not because of the recognition they would receive but because of the value of the experience itself.
"I would want to take Josh Freeman [as a fellow Pro Bowler]," said Joseph. "I think he really needs to see how special it is. So if there's one guy I could take it would be Josh, and number two would be LeGarrette [Blount]. I think it would definitely give him the confidence, and a different perspective of how football can be rewarding to him. Sometimes with young guys they need to something different, rather than just coming to work here. They need to see some of the special parts of football."
Over the next two weeks on Buccaneers.com, Buc fans can hear more of Joseph's feelings about the NFL's all-star showcase, as well as the details of his rise to a Pro Bowl player in the National Football League. In addition, both Joseph and Tampa Bay's Pro Bowl Cheerleader representative, Milly Figuereo, will be equipped with flip-cams during their week in Hawaii, so that upon their return Buccaneer fans can share in all that they get to experience.
Next week, Joseph and Figuereo will be immersed in the Pro Bowl experience. Joseph will attend practices and community events and media sessions. He'll get plenty of opportunities to sight-see, experience the beauty of Hawaii and enjoy the company of his friends and family. On Sunday, he'll do his best for his conference, with Figuereo cheering him on. Here on Buccaneers.com, you can find out what Joseph is thinking about before he makes the all-star trip, and what the experience was like after he returns.