"The last two years I felt like I should have went," Driver said. "Last year, I was hoping I would get in. ... I was kind of doubting that I wasn't going to make it. You never know what is going to happen. It's basically politics."
Carolina's Julius Peppers and New Orleans' Will Smith were named as starters at defensive end. Like Kampman, Smith is making his first trip to represent the NFC in Hawaii. They are part of 23 first-timers who were named to the Pro Bowl for the AFC and NFC.
Driver, in his eighth year out of Alcorn State, becomes a two-time Pro Bowler, having also been honored in 2002. He leads the NFC in receiving yards (1,173 – fourth in the NFL) and has tied a franchise record with his third consecutive 1,000-yard season, following Sterling Sharpe and Pro Hall of Famer James Lofton as one of three Packers to achieve that feat.
In 2002, however, Driver went to the Pro Bowl as an alternate, whereas this season, he was named one of the three top receivers. Alternates are invited if a starter or reserve is unable to play due to an injury.
Driver also joined Sharpe as one of two players in team annals to reach 80 catches as many as three overall seasons.
A seventh-round choice in the 1999 NFL Draft (213th overall), Driver is one of the lowest-draft Pro Bowlers in team history. Only Larry McCarren (308) and Don Majkowski (255) were drafted lower overall. Driver also has seven touchdown receptions this year.
Kampman, in his fifth season out of Iowa, earned his first Pro Bowl honor. Like Driver, Kampman was a Day 2 selection in the draft, going in the fifth round (156th overall) in 2002. Currently leading the conference with a career-best 12½ sacks (tied for second in the NFL), Kampman has started 56 straight games at defensive end. He also has 90 tackles (62 solo), three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one pass defensed.
Harris, Woodson snubbed
Many football experts felt that Packers cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson were deserving of a spot on the NFC roster, but neither of the two were named to the squad. One, or both, may be named as alternates behind starters DeAngelo Hall (Atlanta) and Ronde Barber (Tampa Bay), and reserve Lito Sheppard (Philadelphia).
Woodson has a career-high six interceptions this season. Harris has three interceptions and has been effective in covering opponents' top receivers throughout this season.