Player Perspective: Brendon Ayanbadejo

Brandon Ayanbadejo led the Dolphins last year in special teams tackles with a total of 23,and was chosen as a second alternate to the AFC Pro Bowl squad. When the votes are revealed next Wednesday, the veteran LB will find out if he has been chosen to represent the NFC this year. Ayanbadejo comments on the Pro Bowl, the Bears loss at Pittsburgh and on the upcoming game against the Atlanta Falcons.

I hadn't realized that the voting results will be out in the next week. That should be interesting. I was an alternate last year but I hope to upgrade my status after the voting this year. I think one of the main things is to have been in the league so people definitely know who you are. So in that sense, it might be to my disadvantage to have come from the AFC to the NFC. That's how the system is constructed. We don't get to vote for players in the other conference.

It seems to me that it might be a little tougher to switch conferences and still make it.

Basically you have to put some time in so you always stick out on special teams. That's how you get the players and the coaches to vote for you. The trend is that once you are selected, you tend to be chosen again. In that respect, it is more of a popularity type thing. I hope that I have put enough good stuff on film so that the other players and the coaches will see that and then select me.

If I make it, that's great. If I don't make it this year, the process won't make that much of a difference to me ultimately. I think my overall view is that Pro Bowl selection is an individual goal and that really isn't my focus right now.

Looking back to the Steelers game, it was just one of those days where everything seemed to go wrong. The way we played, the weather conditions, the various factors all revolved around each other.

The footing was terrible. There wasn't much grass to speak of on the playing surface. All I felt was mud. We found that as soon as we took a step or two the mud stuck between out cleats. That made a flat surface, which against the flat surface of the mud already on the field, made it nearly impossible to get decent traction. Two steps out on the field and it felt like we had regular shoes on. There was no way to take hold.

The cold and the snow aren't usually quite as noticeable a problem for us. It's something you expect this time of year. Once you are in there and playing, you concentrate totally on the game and forget the other conditions. But I would have loved some traction.

When you lose you tend to focus more on what went wrong. You look at all of the little things. Our technique was off, and maybe we weren't clicking at an optimum level.

As the time passes, you end up analyzing everything trying to find out what wasn't productive. Then, a day or two later, you want to narrow the scope of what you are looking at to find the specifics that can be corrected.

The Steelers were on fire, that much was clear immediately. It was a game that they had to win to reach the playoffs. The Bears weren't under that kind of pressure. We're still in second place in the NFC. Pittsburgh's backs were against the wall. They would have been out of it if they'd lost. That's why they wanted it more than us.

The Bears? Margin for error from here on through the season is considerably slimmer than earlier this year. The way we look at it, we have to win out. We want a first round bye. We want to go into the playoffs with a lot of momentum and also with a week of rest. Bodies healthy, minds clear, that's the best way to go into the playoffs.

I want it to be cold this weekend for the Falcons. But I heard the forecast was for something like 6 degrees. That's taking it a little too far. A December night game in Chicago? What were they thinking? Throw us a bone. If you want us to play a night game, at least make it in the fall, like October. But at least that should bother the Falcons a lot more than it would bother us.

Home field should be a huge advantage. It's the last game at Soldier Field in the regular season. We want the fans to be right there for us in this one.

Brendon Ayanbadejo has agreed to share his observations of life in the National Football League with Bear Report readers. Brendon will be checking in via the website on a weekly basis.


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