Player Perspective: Brendon Ayanbadejo

Lake Forest - A Pro-Bowl alternate while playing with the Miami Dolphins in 2005, Brendon Ayanbadejo found out that he has been designated a first alternate for this year's game in Hawaii. The special teams ace offers his views on the voting, the Packers and this week with the Bears.

I expected to go to the Pro Bowl but I didn't make it so I guess that's something I can still work for. It's my challenge now, my motivation. I got a lot of fan votes probably because a lot of them knew me from the AFC. Then add to that the fans who know me from the Bears and you have quite a few votes. It makes a difference when you've played for two well-known teams. A lot of people who watch those games get to know your name.

I think as far as players' votes were concerned, the problem I ran into was that of changing conferences. Since I was in the AFC and now am in the NFC, it could have been that some of the players weren't that familiar with what I can do. I certainly hope to change that perception next season. I felt that I'd been making Pro Bowl quality plays but I guess not enough players and coaches were noticing that. That's the only reason I can think of. But it is still an honor to be picked as a first alternate.

I think that it is good for the reputation of the Bears defense that so many players were chosen to represent the NFC this year. The more attention your team gets, the better the chances that you personally will get noticed the next year. We'll see how that turns out.

Looking toward the Green Bay game, I view it most of all as the rivalry. Emotions run high. In that kind of a matchup where just about anything can happen, you never have the luxury of taking it lightly. Green Bay may not have been playing well lately, but that's no reason to think they might not want to come back against us in front of their home fans.

It will be an intense game. That's always the case. Brett Favre has the potential to turn things around. I know he didn't have a great game on Monday night but that can be dangerous. The Packers will have something to prove. You always need to be careful when you're up against a team that just had their butts kicked, especially if it happened on national TV.

But we're ready. Even though it will be a home game for them and that always makes a difference, we've been doing things right and I think that will continue. I expect to see a lot of intensity on both sides of the ball. Winning is important for the Packers, but I think it's more important for us right now. And, it would be a very good thing for us psychologically to win the division on their home field.

In terms of specifics, I think they are going do more of what we saw from them a few weeks ago. They'll try to run the ball and exploit us on the cutbacks. I don't see the weather as too much of a factor. In fact compared to what we've had recently, we're considering this one to be a warm weather game.

The game falls on a holiday but that's the way the schedule worked out. It's not that big of a deal, you don't think about those things when you are playing. Players and their families may have to change their celebrations around some but I don't think that it will affect any of us at all during the game. We'll be celebrating later.

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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