Jeff Saturday was out with his kids on Wednesday without a clue of what was to come when the NFL announced this year’s Pro Bowl rosters.
Much to the surprise of many, the 14th-year center was selected to the game for the sixth time in the hours that followed, along with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews.
The voting, which is split among fans, players and coaches, has garnered some national attention for Saturday’s selection based on how his first season in Green Bay has played out.
After signing a two-year contract in the offseason, the 37-year-old Saturday started the first 14 games of the season at center before being benched last week in favor of 26-year-old reserve Evan Dietrich-Smith, who the team felt was ready to assume a larger role in the offense.
On Friday, Saturday admitted he has no control over the selection process, but fully plans to participate in the Pro Bowl while taking the opportunity to soak up the moment one final time.
“I know this is the end of it for me, so you just appreciate that and you’re going to enjoy it,” Saturday said. “You remember all of them, but it’s a special time and I’m going to go enjoy it with the family.”
Brought in for his experience running no-huddle offense, Saturday was considered stopgap replacement for Scott Wells, who left for St. Louis during the offseason.
Despite being serviceable in pass-blocking and popular among the team’s offensive linemen, Saturday’s limitations in the run game helped usher in the move to promote Dietrich-Smith.
On Thursday, Packers coach Mike McCarthy stood by Saturday’s selection, which has him backing up Seattle’s Max Unger, noting the process is out of their hands and you don’t apologize for anything in the NFL.
While many around the league may be surprised, Saturday has learned not to be anymore. In his last guaranteed Pro Bowl bid in what could be his final NFL season, Saturday plans on enjoying it.
“I’ve been surprised a lot this year. You never know,” said Saturday, who was selected to the Pro Bowl from 2005-07 and 2009-10. “I stopped looking at that stuff years ago. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t. I don’t ever sweat it. I let the media all talk it up and do whatever they want with it and that’s really what ends up happening anyway.
“You appreciate it when you get it. You have no control either way whether you get it or not. You don’t vote. Whatever people do, you appreciate it and then move on.”
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