As consolation prizes go, Julius Peppers got a sweet reward Monday morning.
The Green Bay Packers top pass rusher will make his ninth Pro Bowl trip. Peppers replaces Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller, who won't participate after his team beat the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game. The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday, and players from Super Bowl teams are unavailable.
In truth, Peppers would rather be in Miller's position this morning. A Super Bowl trip is the real prize, but Peppers' inclusion on the Pro Bowl roster rewards a remarkable 2015 season.
Peppers, originally a Pro Bowl alternate, led the Packers with 10.5 sacks and added another postseason sack at the age of 35. It was his highest sack total since 2012, which also was his last trip to the Pro Bowl. Peppers finished with a half sack fewer than Miller's 11.
Peppers also recorded 42 tackles (31 solo), two forced fumbles (tied for team lead), eight QB hits and 19 pressures (No. 3 on the team) during the 2015 season.
It gives the Packers a fifth Pro Bowler. Peppers joins quarterback Aaron Rodgers, fullback John Kuhn, inside linebacker Clay Matthews and left guard Josh Sitton as players selected to the game. Rodgers pulled out of the Pro Bowl because of an unspecified injury last week and was replaced by Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.
After the Packers divisional playoff loss at the Arizona Cardinals, Peppers said he was "not sure" about his future. He turned 36 years old a week ago and has one more season left on the three-year contract he signed with the Packers before the 2014 season. Perhaps a Pro Bowl trip will factor into his decision on whether to return.