Cameron Wake's improbable rise from undrafted and unwanted to CFL castoff to CFL star to the Miami Dolphins has taken a wonderful turn to Hawaii.
"It's truly an honor," Wake said.
Wake has just been named a starting outside linebacker on the 2011 AFC Pro Bowl team. He starts alongside Pittsburgh's James Harrison.
Jake Long, a Pro Bowl selection his first two NFL seasons, has turned the hat trick. He is in his third Pro Bowl and also was named the starter.
The interesting thing is Long made the Pro Bowl despite dealing with knee and shoulder injuries. He said he must consider those before playing the game, but "definitely" wants to play in the game.
"I had some up and down games and haven't played at my best sometimes," Long said. "...But I kept my high level of play even with some bumps and bruises."
No other Miami Dolphin is in the Pro Bowl.
Kicker Dan Carpenter, the Dolphins offense most of the year, is not in. Neither is receiver Brandon Marshall or punter Brandon Fields.
I asked Wake how he celebrates his first Pro Bowl selection -- for a game that will be played on his birthday.
"I'm a diet so I don't know if a steak is going to happen tonight. I don't drink so that's out of the question. And we got practice tomorrow early so I don't know what I'll do outside of take a deep breath for a minute and let it soak in. I'm going to be early and be back at the facility at 6 a.m. tomorrow. We still got a game to play so my concentration is going there."
The Patriots, with the NFL's best record at 13-2, led all teams with six Pro Bowl picks. They have six picks in the first three rounds of next year's NFL draft and three picks in the first 33 selections.