When Cincinnati Bengals safety and special teams stalwart Clayton Fejedelem saw he had a missed call from head coach Marvin Lewis on Tuesday night, he said he his first thought was, “Uh, oh.”
But when Fejedelem called Lewis back, he found out he had been named a second alternate for the Pro Bowl.
“It’s cool to be recognized,” Fejedelem said Wednesday before practice. “I’m honored.”
Defenive tackle Geno Atkins was selected as a starter, and A.J. Green was voted r reserve, marking his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl selection. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict is a fourth alternate.
A 2016 seventh-round pick, Fejedelem has played 83 percent of the snaps on special teams this season in addition to getting more playing time at safety due to the rash of injuries.
His selection as a second alternate is a primarily a product of voting by his peers and the league coaches, which account for two-thirds of the tally. Fejedelem was not even ranked in the top 10 of the fan voting, which accounts for the other third.
“That just means we’ve got to do something about these Cincinnati fans,” he joked. “We’ve got to get that right, because then I’d be there. They’ve got to get more involved.”
He followed that up with a more serious tone:
“That’s huge getting the respect from the coaches because besides playing for my family and love of the game and all that kind of stuff, you play for pride,” Fejedelem said. “And when other coaches and other players who are out there that you’re battling with on Sundays, they see the production you’re having, the way that you’re playing, that’s the ultimate goal, is for them to respect you.”