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'To be in this stage early in my career, I'm truly blessed': Pat Surtain II reflects on his first Pro Bowl from Las Vegas


LAS VEGAS — In his first Pro Bowl appearance, Pat Surtain II certainly didn't need long to fly high in Las Vegas.

As the newly reformatted Pro Bowl Games got underway Thursday, Surtain appeared in the Skills Showcase and made a soaring catch through the Fremont Street Experience’s canopy. He was one of four competitors in the Best Catch challenge, where entrees make spectacular grabs at Vegas landmarks.

But this momentous week is about a lot more, Surtain told on Friday. Surtain said as much he's looking forward to the games, he's more excited for building camaraderie with so many other of the league's best players.

"The brotherhood — the NFL is built off of that, I feel like," Surtain said. "And just to make it with a bunch of elite, great guys, it means a lot to be in that same category. It's an honor and it's a blessing to be here. This is something I've worked toward as well, individually. I'm just honored. ...

"It's just an honor to be here. And to be in this stage early in my career, I'm truly blessed. ... I know there's many more to come."

In addition to the current players in attendance, Surtain will also have the chance to speak with former players who are serving as coaches, like former Broncos Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware.

"I talked to Peyton on multiple occasions so far," Surtain said. "He's very excited. Obviously he's very competitive, so he wants the AFC to win as bad as we want to win. It should be fun going out there, having him as a coach and Ray [Lewis] and those guys. It should be awesome, an awesome opportunity."

Surtain earned his Pro Bowl trip after a remarkable 2022 season in which he emerged as one of the league's top cornerbacks.

Even though he had just two interceptions — including an amazing diving pick of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes that Surtain called his favorite play of the season — his NFL colleagues and media members alike recognized his high level of play. In addition to the Pro Bowl honors, Surtain was named a first-team All-Pro by both the NFLPA and Associated Press, and the Pro Football Writers of America selected him to the 2022 All-NFL Team.

"It's very big to be mentioned in that category in those good regards from people around the league," Surtain said. "All-Pro is a prestigious award, and that's what you work [for], individually. To be mentioned and to be categorized in that honor, it means a lot."

But as his 2022 season enters its final days this weekend, Surtain is ready to build off it and become even better.

"I'm looking forward to building on obviously my on-field play, but also building my leadership as well," Surtain said. "… I know I'm a third-year guy, I'm starting to get a little bit more savvy, starting to know the ins and outs of the game. So it'll be a great opportunity for me to just provide that leadership quality for the DBs, along with [safety] Justin [Simmons], 'KJack' [Kareem Jackson] and them guys. I'm just looking forward to build on that and just improve my play."

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