A year ago, Ravens punter Sam Koch offered to take Kyle Juszczyk and a few other members of the special teams unit to the Pro Bowl with him. Juszczyk declined, saying he wanted his first trip to be based on his own merit.
Juszczyk got his wish Tuesday night when he joined guard Marshal Yanda, kicker Justin Tucker, and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley as the team's representatives for the 2017 Pro Bowl. After Wednesday's practice, Juszczyk recalled that conversation with Koch.
"I said the first time I'm going to the Pro Bowl, I want it to be on my own schedule and because of what I did," he said.
Juszczyk, 25, earned his first Pro Bowl invite since being chosen by the organization in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft. The 6-foot-1, 240-pound fullback leads all players at his position in receptions (33) and yards (255) – a feat he accomplished last year with 41 catches for 321 yards and four touchdowns.
Despite those numbers, Juszczyk said he tried to avoid thinking about the Pro Bowl.
"I was trying not to get my hopes up, honestly," he said. "I didn't want to think about it until it was 4 o'clock yesterday and so many people kept telling me, 'You got it this year. You got it.' But I didn't want to think about it."
Quarterback Joe Flacco said he was "pumped" for his teammate.
"Kyle's been juiced about that," Flacco said. "That's been in his head for probably the last three years. I'm really happy for him. He's a great teammate, a good friend. I know he's excited about it, and I'm excited about it for him. That's awesome."
Juszczyk has some time to figure out who will accompany him to the Pro Bowl in Orlando. Will he make the same offer Koch made to him last year?
"I didn't think about that," Juszczyk said with a smile. "Shoot. I'll offer it, but I'm sure he'll decline."