Coming off one of the most productive seasons by a defensive end in Rams history,
In addition to being named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America, Quinn has basked in the glow of his first career Pro Bowl selection, and was chosen as one of two captains for his squad, led by Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice. As part of that captain responsibility, Quinn was tasked with helping to pick his teammates for Sunday’s game.
Quinn’s role in helping to craft his team gave him a perspective on constructing a roster that he didn’t mind deferring to his more seasoned fellow captain.
“It kind of let me know how tough it is to be a general manager,” Quinn said. “To do it with all these great players was pretty tough. With Drew Brees on the team, he’s the quarterback, so I just kind of sat back and let him steal the show. With the team we put together, we’ve got multiple Pro Bowlers, first-timers, all of that good stuff. To see the fun guys are having, it makes you appreciate the whole experience.”
While Quinn may have kept to himself on most of the picks, he did help ensure there would be at least one familiar face on Team Rice. Rice selected Rams teammate Johnny Hekker during the first-ever Pro Bowl Draft on Wednesday night. While the selection was made for the work Hekker did kicking the football throughout the 2013 season, Quinn hinted the punter’s arm wasn’t overlooked either.
“We started out by drafting the guards, and we got our people,” Quinn said. “But (Hekker) also played quarterback, so don’t be surprised if there’s a fake out there somewhere with his arm downfield.”
Quinn wasted no time in alerting the league of the type of year he was embarking upon in 2013, as he collected three sacks and a pair of forced fumbles in the season opener. His pace hardly waned, ensuring his selection the NFL’s all-star game. Still, being chosen as one of four captains between the two teams came as a bit of a surprise to the first-time Pro Bowler.
“There are just so many great players, and to be selected as one, it’s a great honor,” Quinn said. “You could flip a coin on anybody’s name here to be a captain, but it’s a great honor that I won’t forget. You don’t know when the next time is that you’ll be in a Pro Bowl, and to be selected as a captain on my first one is kind of breathtaking, because it’s hard to do.”
Thursday marked Team Rice’s first practice leading up to Sunday’s game. Per the custom for this game, the pace was relaxed, but the opportunity to play amongst the game’s best is not lacking in anticipation for Quinn.
“It’s kind of like being a rookie all over again,” Quinn said. “Just being around all the great players and being on one team, it’s a great honor.”