Bruschi: Pro Bowl selection is special

As part of his interview today on ESPN Radio, Tedy Bruschi reflected on the first (and only) time he was named to the Pro Bowl. Three of the eight Patriots players selected to the Pro Bowl -- Rob Gronkowski, Andre Carter and Matthew Slater -- are first-timers.

“One Pro Bowl for me,” Bruschi said. "The linebackers that held it down when I was in the league were Ray Lewis, he’s still doing it now, and Zach Thomas. Those were the two AFC representatives [at middle linebacker] year in and year out. Those were the guys at middle linebacker and I never had a complaint, it’s like ‘Man, those guys are balling, they deserve to go there again.’

"But one year I was the first alternate. Ray Lewis actually had an arm injury. It might have been a wrist or a forearm, something like that. I never thought he’d pull out because the guy has been so consistent and tough throughout his career, but I got a call on my cell phone, Ray pulled out and I was the first alternate. That’s how I remember it. It was right before Super Bowl XXXIX, we were about to play the Eagles. I was sitting down alone in the cafeteria eating lunch and Bill Belichick’s assistant Berj Najarian called me up and let me know.

"We had a team meeting later that day and Bill recognized me as a Pro Bowl linebacker for the first time in my career and the entire team gave me an ovation, congratulations. It was a special feeling. I understand what all these first timers were going through."