Fields, Grimes, Pouncey And Wake Make The Pro Bowl

Posted Dec 27, 2013

Dolphins are sending two first-timers and two returnees to Hawaii.

Every year around this time the questions about which players are getting their due around the National Football League get louder, with the announcement of the Pro Bowl teams providing the answer.

For Miami Dolphins punter Brandon Fields, cornerback Brent Grimes, center Mike Pouncey and defensive end Cameron Wake that answer was a definitive yes tonight. Fields and Pouncey will be making their first trip to Hawaii the week before Super Bowl XLVIII, while Grimes will be making his second and Wake his third.

“I want to congratulate Brandon, Brent, Mike, and Cam on being named to the NFL Pro Bowl team,” Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin said in a statement. “It is a well-deserved honor. I know they will be outstanding representatives of their teammates and the rest of the Dolphins organization in Hawaii.”

For Fields, the honor has been a long time coming in this his seventh season, especially after he led the league in punting average last year and was one of only six punters in league history to average 50.0 yards per punt or more at 50.2. He currently ranks second in the NFL in gross punt average (48.8 yards per punt), second in net average (42.8) and third in punts inside the 20-yard line with 33. He also kicked the third longest punt of the season at 74 yards last week at Buffalo and joins Reggie Roby (1984, 1989) as the only two Dolphins punters ever to be selected to the Pro Bowl.

“It’s a great honor to be selected to the Pro Bowl,” Fields said. “I am very excited on my first selection and to be able to celebrate it with three of my teammates. I want to thank coach Philbin and also (special teams coordinator) coach (Darren) Rizzi and (assistant special teams) coach (Marwan) Maalouf for all the work that they have put in and guidance the last few years to help me get to where I am at today.”

This is Pouncey’s third season in the pros. He watched his twin brother and center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Maurkice, make it ahead of him the previous two years and a total of three years in a row. He is the first Dolphins center to earn the honor since Tim Ruddy following the 2000 season and just the fourth overall, joining Hall-of-Famers Dwight Stephenson (1983-87) and Jim Langer (1973-78).

“It’s truly a great honor to be named to the Pro Bowl, this recognition obviously would not have been possible without the all the other guys on the offensive line around me,” said Pouncey. “I would also like to thank the fans, the Miami Dolphins organization, Coach Philbin, the offensive coaching staff and especially Coach (Jim) Turner who have helped me reach this honor.”

Wake has established himself as one of the elite pass rushers in the league and is one of only two players in franchise history to get a Pro Bowl nod at two different positions. He went to Hawaii as a linebacker following the 2010 season, which was his second season in the league, after recording 14 sacks and now returns for the second straight year as a defensive end.

After erupting for a career-high 15 sacks in his Pro Bowl season of 2012, Wake’s 8.5 sacks so far are second most on the team behind Olivier Vernon’s 11.5. He is striving to reach double digits for the third time in his five-year career and also has notched 35 tackles (28 solo), 19 quarterback hits, eight tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and the first safety of his NFL career. That came in overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals on October 31st with 6:42 left and gave Miami a 22-20 victory, marking just the third time in league history that an overtime game was decided by a safety.

“It’s an honor to be named to the Pro Bowl,” said Wake. “This honor would not have been possible without my teammates, the coaching staff and the fans of the Miami Dolphins. I have to thank, coach Philbin, coach Coyle, (defensive line) coach (Kacy) Rogers, (assistant defensive line) coach (Charlie) Bullen and the rest of the defensive coaches. It’s an honor that I will share with all my teammates who deserve credit for this as well.”

Grimes has made a big splash in the secondary in his first season as a Dolphin. His first Pro Bowl appearance came after the 2010 season with the Atlanta Falcons, but he was coming off an Achilles injury that sidelined him for all but one game last season. From the beginning of training camp the diminutive but athletic corner showed that he was fully recovered and through 15 games he is tied for the team lead in interceptions with four, including one that he returned 94 yards for a touchdown against Cincinnati.

In addition to being a lockdown corner in coverage, Grimes has registered 55 tackles (47 solo) and 15 pass breakups in his 15 starts. He is just the third Dolphins cornerback to earn Pro Bowl accolades, joining Sam Madison (1999-2002) and Patrick Surtain (2002-04).

“This selection means a lot especially coming off last year, to come back and make the Pro Bowl is a big deal,” stated Grimes. “I would like to thank all the fans, the whole Dolphins organization for believing in me and giving me a chance. Of course I would also like to thank all of the defensive coaches, especially (defensive coordinator) coach (Kevin) Coyle, (defensive backs) coach Lou (Anarumo), (assistant defensive backs) coach Blue (Adams) and (defensive assistant) coach (Jeff) Burris for not only believing in me to get me here but believing in me throughout the year and helping me to become a better player.”

This will be the first year that the Pro Bowl will not feature the AFC versus the NFC. There will be a Pro Bowl Draft of the 86 All-Stars, as chosen by a consensus of fan votes, players’ votes and coaches’ votes. Hall-of-Famers Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice are the captains of the two teams and will choose their players via the draft for the annual game, which will be played at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium on Sunday, January 26th, 2014 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time and shown live on NBC.
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