Strong safety Adrian Wilson (24) was named to his third straight Pro Bowl Tuesday.
It hasn't been Adrian Wilson's most memorable season, either personally or with his team, so when coach Ken Whisenhunt called the safety to tell him Tuesday afternoon he was named a Pro Bowl starter, "I thought it was a joke," Wilson said.
"You know how Whiz likes to play jokes," Wilson added.
It wasn't a joke, though. The strong safety was the lone Cardinal to be named to the NFC Pro Bowl roster Tuesday, the third straight year Wilson has been named a Pro Bowl starter, and his fourth Pro Bowl selection in his 10th season.
"To be honest, I am very shocked," Wilson said. "Someone told me, 'You always go in a year later than you're supposed to go, and you always get that one last one when you don't really deserve it. I hope this isn't my last one and I understand that this hasn't been one of my greatest years."
In fact, Wilson spent most of his five-minute conference call with reporters talking about how fellow safety Kerry Rhodes should have made it instead. Rhodes – arguably the team's MVP – didn't, despite four interceptions, four fumble recoveries, an NFL-leading 174 yards on interception returns and two touchdowns.
"Kerry deserved it way more than I do," Wilson said, adding that he would've given up his spot for Rhodes.
That isn't possible, since Rhodes wasn't even named an alternate.
The Cardinals have five players as alternates (the team does not reveal which alternate spots they received): defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, guard Alan Faneca, kicker Jay Feely, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Every player except for Feely finished among the top five at their position in the fan portion of the voting.
Punter Ben Graham, who received the most votes at his position in the fan voting, also is not an alternate.
With the Pro Bowl again slated to be held in the week before the Super Bowl, there figure to be multiple withdrawals from the game, meaning many alternates will eventually be named to play.
Wilson, who declined to play last season because of the birth of his son, becomes the first defensive player for the Cardinals to be named to three straight Pro Bowls since cornerback Aeneas Williams. This season, Wilson has a career-high 115 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, five passes defensed and a blocked field goal.
He said as it stands, he does plan to play in the game this season. With the potential lockout, he doesn't want to pass up a chance to play in the all-star game.
During his interview, however, Wilson kept returning to what he felt was an injustice that Rhodes did not make the team (former teammate Antrel Rolle, who has not had as good a season with the New York Giants, did make it).
"(Kerry) came into a new system and he made plays in a new system," Wilson said. "I really believe he deserves it way more than I do.
"He had a better year. The Pro Bowl is somewhat of a popularity contest, and somewhat about guys coming in to take that No. 1 spot."
Wilson worked a long time to earn such a reputation, and earlier in his career was upset when he was snubbed for Pro Bowls for big-name veterans he felt he had outperformed. He's seeing the other side of that this season.
Wilson insisted he was still happy, but he was caught off-guard.
"I was thinking more about my teammates than me, to be honest," Wilson said.
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