Pro Bowl Pits Wake Against Fields, Grimes And Pouncey

Posted Jan 25, 2014

New format in Hawaii puts teammates on opposite sidelines.

Separation anxiety just might get the best of Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake tomorrow in Hawaii during the 2014 Pro Bowl.

Wake, playing in his third Pro Bowl, watched teammates Brandon Fields, Brent Grimes and Mike Pouncey get picked by Hall-of-Fame cornerback Deion Sanders for his team in the first game that will not feature the AFC all-stars versus the NFC all-stars. He heard his name called by Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice, which meant he’d have to line opposite three of the players he went to battle every Sunday during the regular season.

“I’m the only Dolphin on this side so I’m the lone soldier on Team Rice,” Wake told Tristin Jones of The Finsiders after one of the practices. “It’s a little different but it’s fun and I never really got to interact with NFC guys the past few years so this is the first time I get to do it and I’m enjoying it. I’ll probably have to go up against and he’s a competitor as well so it’s a good thing he’s down there in the interior. I’ll probably be outside working the tight ends and tackles but when the lights come on, all that matters is Team Rice and we’re going to go out there and try to get the W.”

Wake has earned Pro Bowl berths both as a linebacker and a defensive end and managed to compile 8.5 sacks in 2013 despite missing one game due to a knee injury. His motor is running on high the majority of the time and Pouncey doesn’t expect to see anything different this time around, even in an all-star showcase.

“Well in practice he’s not going like he’s going to be going in the game on Sunday,” Pouncey told Jones. “So it’s going to be different and I just hope he goes out there and has a really good game and most importantly I hope that he stays as healthy as possible. But I told all of these guys on this football team that we’re going after the money.”

For Pouncey, he has seen his twin brother Maurkice, center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, make the trip to Hawaii twice before but this is the first time for him. He credited the entire offensive line for helping him earn this honor.

This is Grimes’ second appearance in the Pro Bowl as he just finished his first season in Miami. The Shippensburg (Pa.) product made the trip in 2010 as a member of the Atlanta Falcons but lost an entire season in 2012 to an Achilles injury suffered in the season opener at Kansas City. He bounced back this year to tie for the team lead in interceptions with four, including one that he returned 94 yards for a touchdown on Halloween night at Sun Life Stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals and did not allow a touchdown catch to an opposing receiver.

“I’m here in Hawaii and this is awesome with a draft day, especially for a player like me that wasn’t drafted,” said Grimes, who wears the same No. 21 jersey as his Pro Bowl team’s general manager who had played for the same Falcons that had drafted Sanders. “So this is like my only draft day that I’ve ever had the opportunity to experience. I was getting a little worried and thought I wasn’t going to get picked up until late and people were going to look over me. But I got picked up and I’m excited about this opportunity to represent the Dolphins here. I think I’m going to do something nice on the field.”

Fields, like Pouncey, is making his first appearance in this game despite being among the league’s top punters since his rookie season in 2007. His numbers actually were better in 2012 when he led the NFL with a 50.2 gross punt average and ranked second this year at 48.8.

The Dolphins’ loyalists will have an interesting time choosing which team to root for at Aloha Stadium.
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