Albert Grateful For Return To Pro Bowl

Posted Jan 22, 2016

In an interview with The Finsiders, Branden Albert spoke candidly about working his way back from injury to earn his second trip to the Pro Bowl in the past three seasons.

Branden Albert was taking a nap Wednesday when word came out he had been added to the Pro Bowl roster, but all the congratulations on his phone gave him the good news when he woke up.

“I saw like 50 congratulations, so I kind of figured I had made it,” Albert said Friday. “I was the fourth alternate, so I didn’t think I really had a chance, but I guess it was in the storybook to go in. So I’m very happy, very fortunate and very blessed for the situation, very happy about being selected.”

Being named to the Pro Bowl indeed was something of a storybook ending for a season that began with major question marks about Albert’s ability to bounce back from his severe 2014 knee injury.

Albert not only was able to start and finish the 2015 season — two missed games early in the season were the exception — he looked by the time the finale against New England arrived pretty much like the guy who had played so well for the Dolphins at the start of 2014 before he went down in that November game at Detroit.

“I did imagine it, but I’m not going to lie to you, there was a lot of doubt there,” Albert said. “But with the support of my teammates, my family, my loved ones, I ended up playing through what I needed to fight through. Just to put myself in that position, even though I wasn’t named (to the Pro Bowl) at the beginning, but even being an alternate was an accomplishment by itself after having that bad knee injury. A year ago this time I was on crutches and I could barely walk. I’m just very fortunate, very blessed to be in this situation and be selected after all that I went through.”

Albert was one of two Dolphins players added to the Pro Bowl on Wednesday along with wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who spoke with Albert after the announcement on FaceTime through a mutual friend.

Center Mike Pouncey was selected to the initial team when it was announced in late December but had to withdraw from the game because of a leg injury.

“Mike is our mainstay on the offensive line, especially being the center, how great of a player and more important how great of a leader he is,” Albert said. “Just being named with him with the offensive line, it just shows what we can possibly do if all of us stay healthy at once and we grow together. We could be a pretty good offensive line. It’s a good thing that the offensive line gets recognition. We get badgered and talked about a lot, but it just shows that the real people know what is being put on film. That’s all that matters at the end of the day.”

This will be Albert’s second Pro Bowl appearance. The first came following the 2013 season, his last in Kansas City before he joined the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent.

Because of the circumstances, Albert said his selection was more significant.

“This was more gratifying just because last year I was probably a sure thing for the Pro Bowl, then I had a mishap with my knee,” Albert said. “And just going through what I went through not knowing if I was ever going to be the same player and having doubt and insecurities and to finally realize that you got that door left open, it’s just the most gratifying.

“Everybody that’s in my family and my friends and my teammates and the guys in the O-line room, I was getting text messages from Mike and Ja’Wuan (James) saying they’re proud of me because of what I went through. They saw it. They saw what happened to me, they know what happened to me. They know the truth. They know what was going on. Those guys are very happy for me. That’s the most gratifying thing when the young guys in the room and you’ve got Mike and all those guys rooting for you and happy for you because they know what you went through and my family and the organization.”

Albert says the trip to Hawaii will be different this time because he now knows what to expect, calling himself “more seasoned.”

And he doesn’t plan on this being his last Hawaii vacation for the postseason all-star game, either.

“My goal is to be the best left tackle in football next year,” Albert said. “Not to slight anybody, (but) the momentum I got toward the end of the season and just knowing I could do it. I was probably 80, 85 percent, so when I get myself all the way back to where I need to be, the sky’s the limit. With the new coaching staff and Coach (Adam) Gase coming in, the excitement we’re all going to have, every day we’ve got to prove (ourselves). I’m going to continue to get better, continue to strive with my teammates. I’m just excited for the future.”
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