Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, here closing in on Rams quarterback Marc Bulger for his ninth sack of 2007, was put on the Pro Bowl roster Thursday.
Darnell Dockett gets to go to the Pro Bowl after all, just like his grandfather predicted.
The Cardinals defensive lineman recently complained to grandpa that his body was still sore from the season, and Maurice Dockett had some advice: Start working out, because the Pro Bowl was going to come calling.
Thursday, Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris officially pulled out of playing in the NFL's all-star game Thursday because of a bad knee, putting Dockett – the NFC's first alternate at the position – in the game.
And grandpa got in touch with Darnell quickly.
"He said, 'I told you to be ready,' " Dockett said, " 'and by the way, you know my first and last name, so let me know when I leave and what hotel I am staying at and I'll be all right.' I couldn't even say nothing, except 'OK grandpa, I got you.' "
Dockett, hanging out with family in Maryland, was busy making arrangements for a host of Docketts to go to Hawaii after getting the news – news that had been expected since it became known that Harris would likely need downtime because of his injury.
Dockett is coming off his best season as a pro, collecting nine sacks and 75 tackles, both career-bests. Dockett also forced two fumbles and recovered two fumbles this season.
"I don't feel it needed to happen," Dockett said. "That doesn't mean I'd want them to take it away, because it does put the icing on the cake to validate it, but everybody knows I had a great year. Everybody knows what I can do. It just worked out well."
Minnesota defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams are the NFC starters at the position.
Dockett joins wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald as the Cardinals in Hawaii. The selection gives the Cardinals two players in the Pro Bowl for a third straight season, the first time that has happened since 1995-97.
Safety Adrian Wilson and receiver Anquan Boldin went last season, while Fitzgerald and kicker Neil Rackers played in the game after the 2005 season.
Dockett had been disappointed he had not been selected originally, but he emphasized Thursday he wished Harris had not been hurt for him to get a spot.
"I was kind of surprised because I knew how much he wanted to play in the game, just like I did," Dockett said. "I just want to represent my team well, represent the fans and have a great time."
The Pro Bowl will be played in Honolulu on Feb. 10, a week after the Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Dockett, who said he has been "chilling" in Maryland, will return to Arizona next week for the Super Bowl. While his afternoons and evenings will have various appearances, autograph signings and interviews, Dockett said he talked to Cardinals strength and conditioning coach John Lott and will spend the mornings working out at the team's Tempe complex.
Then he and Maurice and the Dockett clan will head to a working vacation.
"I told people, if I did get to the Pro Bowl, it wouldn't be for a popularity contest, it would definitely come from what I did on the field, being consistent 16 games strong," Dockett said. "I had a great season but my teammates around me are what made it possible to have a great season. I have a lot of (good) guys around me and somebody is bound to step out and take it to another level. Adrian Wilson was the guy last year, this year I was the guy, next year it could be somebody else.
"This isn't necessarily just about me. There are a lot of guys on our team that can play and there are guys on our team that I think could have easily got in (to the Pro Bowl) too."
Contact Darren Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted 1/24/08. Updated 1/24/08