For the first time in Bears history, two Chicago receivers will play at Hawaii in the Pro Bowl.
After being snubbed from the starting roster and named an alternate, Alshon Jeffery will represent Chicago after replacing injured Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, joining teammates Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte.
"I'm extremely blessed and thankful for the opportunity to play in the Pro Bowl," Jeffery said. "I want to thank coach [Mike] Groh, coach [Marc] Trestman and the rest of my teammates for putting me in a position to succeed this season. Thanks to all the fans for all of the support this season and I'm looking forward to playing with Brandon and Matt in Hawaii.
Jeffery earned the spot; the second-year receiver caught 89 passes for 1,421 yards, seven touchdowns and averaged 16 yards a catch. He finished sixth in yards, 10th in receptions and tied for 12th in average yards per catch.
Jeffery was arguably a top-five receiver in 2013. Even teammate Marshall thought the former 2012 second-round pick out of South Carolina out-performed him.
When asked in an interview on NFL Network's "NFL AM" Tuesday, Marshall said only two receivers are ranked higher than him: Calvin Johnson and Alshon Jeffery.
"We are two different receivers," Marshall said.
‘‘[Jeffery] has confidence about himself,’’ Marshall said via Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘Last year we sat down and talked about goals, and his goal was to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Some older guys would look at that kid like, ‘You’re ridiculous.’ I looked at it and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got the same attitude. You’ve got to dream big. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will.'"
The first-ever non-conferenced Pro Bowl teams will be drafted Jan. 22 by Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice. The game will be Jan. 26, a week before Super Bowl Sunday.