Linebacker/defensive end Brian Orakpo has been named to the Pro Bowl, the only Redskin scheduled to make the trip this year and the first Redskins defensive rookie EVER to be named to the Pro Bowl.
Orakpo was at home, watching a movie and eating cookies — “Renaldo Wynn’s cookies that his wife gave us for Christmas,” he said — when Redskins owner Daniel Snyder called to tell him the news and congratulate him on the honor.
As you’d expect, Orakpo was excited by the Pro Bowl nod — and surprised as well. “You know, first year, you don’t know what to expect,” he said. “All you’re trying to do is make a name for yourself, just so people have respect for you, the way you play, and you’re just tryin’ to do the best you can. Obviously our season has not been that great, and that was more important to me than individual stuff, but at the end of the season you can reflect back and see that you did have a great season, and that’s what the Pro Bowl really meant: that I did some good things throughout the season and people noticed them.”
Maybe now Dick Stockton will manage to get his name right for an entire game.
Orakpo was the only Redskins player to be named to the game (although the alternates aren’t officially announced until and unless they’re needed, so we can keep our fingers crossed for that, at least), which means that London Fletcher was overlooked again. That disappointing fact wasn’t lost on Orakpo.
“You know, London’s done so much for me, just getting me aligned throughout the game,” Orakpo said. “He’s always there to back me up with my mistakes out there on the field, and I pay so much credit to him, and I feel like he deserves it more than me, in my honest opinion. If I could trade it, man, I’d give my spot to him any day. He’s been that much of a key role model for me and a key individual that really helped my game excel to where it is, and I pay a lot of tribute to him.”
Given that he was legendarily out at a sushi restaurant when his rookie contract was signed and now eating cookies when he was named to the Pro Bowl, I thought there might be some kind of zany food connection to be made, but Orakpo was unconvinced. “I’m always eatin’ so much,” he said, shrugging it off.
Instead of crediting the cookies, Orakpo also gave credit to the defensive coaches who helped him in the transition from college defensive end to pro linebacker/D-end hybrid.
“First of all,” he said, “[defensive coordinator Greg] Blache has been the one that gave me the leeway and put the trust in me to be successful out there, you know, as the only rookie starting on this defense. And [linebacker coach Kirk Olivadotti]‘s just worked with me since day one. I pay so much credit to K.O. for that, for really believing in me since I stepped on the field at Redskins Park, to help me get better as a linebacker and also at end too. Doing so well at those two positions, I can’t say enough about how much they’ve done for me.”
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