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John DeShazier: Playing in the Pro Bowl 'never gets old' for Jahri Evans, Ben Grubbs

Posted Jan 23, 2014

They will be protecting Drew Brees for Team Rice

This season isn’t the first time two New Orleans Saints guards have been selected to play in the Pro Bowl, nor is it the first time that Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs have been chosen to play in the game along with their guard teammate.

But it’s the first time they’ve been chosen together as teammates, and that makes 2014 special for the duo.

Evans represented the Saints with fellow guard Carl Nicks in 2010 and ’11, and Grubbs played in Hawaii as a Baltimore Raven with Marshal Yanda in ’11.

“It’s funny because my last year (in Baltimore), Marshal Yanda, who’s here for his third straight year, we both made it,” Grubbs said this week. “It was both of our first year making it to the Pro Bowl, so I was excited to check in here and see him.

“So I played with him and then I come to New Orleans, and to be selected with five-time Pro Bowler Jahri Evans is definitely a blessing and an honor. It just feels good to have familiar faces in the room with you.”

That, and also it’s just good to be in the room at all, Evans said.

“It’s always rewarding to be chosen to come out to Hawaii and represent New Orleans,” Evans said. “Playing in the Pro Bowl is an honor that never gets old.

“The beginning of the year was tough with a couple of injuries back to back but it’s a part of this great game we love to play. I’m just glad I was able to persevere through them and play better as the season went along.”

Evans had started every game the first seven years of his NFL career, and the first two games of this season, before ending his consecutive starts streak at 114 when he was active, but did not play, against Arizona on Sept. 22. He sat out another game as an inactive due to an ankle injury.

Still, Evans not only was selected for the Pro Bowl, but also was named second-team All-Pro this season.

Grubbs, in his second season with the Saints, made his second Pro Bowl.

“It’s definitely an honor to play in this game, to be chosen by my peers and fans and coaches,” Grubbs said. “So, I’m definitely excited to represent my family and my friends and the city of New Orleans.

“It never gets old. Playing in the Super Bowl is the ultimate goal, but also one of my goals every year is to play on a Pro Bowl level. Whether I get picked or not, there’s a lot of things that play a factor in that.

“But I can control playing at a Pro Bowl level, and that’s what I set out to do at the beginning of each year. And to be recognized as an elite player is humbling and encouraging.”

And the change in the game’s format didn’t affect the two.

This year, players were “drafted” onto a team, meaning an NFC player could play on the same team as an AFC player. But Saints quarterback Drew Brees, one of the captains for Team Rice, helped make sure that his team drafted his two guards, so Evans and Grubbs will be blocking for Brees – a familiar setting – when the three are on the field together.

 jagri evans

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