Robert Griffin III said he doesn't play football for the awards, but another honor came his way Wednesday in the form of a Pro Bowl selection.
The rookie quarterback was one of three Washington Redskins players chosen for the NFL's all-star game in Honolulu, along with left tackle Trent Williams and special teams captain Lorenzo Alexander.
Griffin was one of two rookies who made the Pro Bow, the other being Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh. On Sunday, Griffin became just the second quarterback in league history to throw for 3,000 yards and run for 750.
This latest news further validates his impressive season.
"You can't play down those kind of things. I've always said my whole football career that you don't play for awards, those just come," Griffin said. "You don't say that you're going to win the Heisman, you don't say you're going to win MVP. You go out and you prove in on the field, and if everyone feels that way then they'll give you that award."
Williams was considered one of the better offensive tackles in the NFL. In his third season, he achieved the Pro Bowl nod he was striving for.
Williams, who was suspended for the final four games of the 2011 season for violating the league's substance abuse policy, said all the work he put in to change as a person and player in the past year was worth it.
"It shows how much I've grown and how much I've learned," Williams said. "A lot of people make mistakes and keep making them, and just to know that I've grown from them and become a better person and ultimately a better player, it's gratifying."
Alexander, the Redskins' special teams captain the past two seasons, said he wouldn't have been bothered if San Francisco 49ers safety C.J. Spillman made it instead. But he was happy to get some recognition and relief.
"I put a lot of effort into it and the last couple of years I've had a shot at it. A lot of excitement and a lot of, I guess, worrying about it off my back now," Alexander said. "My wife really wanted to go, so she's always pushing me: 'Are you going? Are you going? Get people to vote.' It's just exciting moments for me and my family to be able to achieve this."
At 9-6 and one win from capturing the NFC East, the Redskins also have two Pro Bowl alternates in rookie running back Alfred Morris and veteran inside linebacker London Fletcher.
Coach Mike Shanahan said earlier Wednesday that he wouldn't be surprised if a few Redskins made it.
"A lot of times, the Pro Bowl, you get nominated when your team has success, and I understand that," Shanahan said. "And if you can consistently have success, then you have a number of guys that make the Pro Bowl. So I'm hoping we're starting to lean that way now."
Griffin, with 3,100 passing yards and 20 touchdowns to go along with 752 rushing yards and six touchdowns, probably would have made it anyway. But it didn't hurt Williams and Alexander that the Redskins are in playoff contention.
"It shows our growth as a team. Obviously, Pro Bowl nominations ultimately come down to the people on the team winning games, and it's something that we've been able to do this year," Alexander said. "Hopefully, this trend continues to move forward for us, and obviously more than Pro Bowls you want to be able to make it to the playoffs and go deep into the playoffs. That's our main goal."
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