Defensive end Calais Campbell, here returning his interception against the Broncos, was named to his first Pro Bowl Tuesday.
Finally, Calais Campbell has earned a Pro Bowl berth.
After making a strong case to make it the past two seasons, Campbell – who did not finish among the fans' top 10 vote-getters for defensive ends – got enough support from players around the league and NFL coaches to have been named to the roster Tuesday night.
Campbell joins cornerback Patrick Peterson and special teamer Justin Bethel as Pro Bowlers for the 11-4 Cardinals. Peterson has made it in each of his four NFL seasons. This is Bethel's second straight Pro Bowl berth.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and cornerback Antonio Cromartie were named alternates for the Pro Bowl, and could still be tabbed to play in the game that will be held Jan. 25 at University of Phoenix Stadium – assuming the Cardinals are not playing in the following week's Super Bowl.
Left tackle Jared Veldheer, who has had a solid first season with the Cardinals, is not an alternate.
In keeping with the new rules instituted last season, players in the game will not play on teams broken down by conference but instead will be "drafted" by team captains Michael Irvin and Cris Carter. The teams will practice at Scottsdale Community College and Luke Air Force Base.
Campbell had the résumé to be considered in the past but he finally broke through in his seventh season. Campbell has seven sacks this year, with 54 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and an interception of Peyton Manning – all while missing two games with a knee injury that has hampered him since he came back at midseason.
"I just want to do what it takes to win the game, and typically that means (I) play well," Campbell said in mid-November. "Pro Bowl comes with
playing well. … I hope I get to avoid playing in the Pro Bowl because we are playing in the Super Bowl. That's my ultimate goal. But you do want recognition when you are playing well."
Peterson was named as a Pro Bowl punt returner as a rookie in 2011 and then named as a cornerback in each of his most recent three seasons. He hasn't had his best year, but he has three interceptions and remains the player who most often guards the opposition's top receiver.
Bethel emerged as one of the best cover men in the NFL on special teams last season, and has 18 special-teams tackles this season, a forced fumble and blocked a field goal against Dallas.
Fitzgerald missed two games with a knee injury but has a team-high 61 catches for 755 yards and two touchdowns. Cromartie has three interceptions and a team-high 12 pass breakups.