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Beason motivated by Pro Bowl snub

Carolina Panthers MLB Jon Beason has all the motivation he needs going into 2010. Sure, he is the defensive captain of a team that missed the playoffs and had to adjust to a new defensive scheme1 this season, and he plays in a market that is notorious for getting little to no recognition in the national media, but Beason is motivated by something more.

Beason is motivated because he was left off the NFC Pro Bowl roster2.

It’s shocking to say the least that he was left off the roster. I mean, sure there were other guys who had good years, but can it really be argued that Beason wasn’t deserving?

Let’s examine the stats and see where he ranks against the guys who made the roster over him: 49ers MLB Patrick Willis, Saints MLB Jonathan Vilma and Redskins MLB London Fletcher. These stats are courtesy of Pro-Football Reference3.

Patrick Willis:

G
Sk Int
Yds TD Lng PD FF Fmb FR Yds TD Tkl Ast Sfty
16 4.0 3 33 1 23 8 3 0 0 0 0 113 38 0

Jonathan Vilma:

G
Sk Int
Yds TD Lng PD FF Fmb FR Yds TD Tkl Ast Sfty
15 2.0 3 25 0 11 8 0 0 0 0 0 86 23 0

London Fletcher:

G
Sk Int
Yds TD Lng PD FF Fmb FR Yds TD Tkl Ast Sfty
15 2.0 1 2 0 2 6 1 0 0 0 0 95 47 0

Jon Beason:

G
Sk Int
Yds TD Lng PD FF Fmb FR Yds TD Tkl Ast Sfty
16 3.0 3 46 0 18 7 1 0 2 0 0 112 30 0

Based on these statistics, can someone please explain to me how Beason was snubbed in favor of Vilma? I understand that Willis deserved to make the roster, but seriously: how in the hell does Vilma make the Pro Bowl (other than the fact that he played for a team that went 13-3, and since Hurricane Katrina has become “America’s Team”?)4 Beason should be the 2nd MLB on the roster, not the 2nd alternate. It’s bad enough that he didn’t even make the roster, but he’s the 2nd alternate? Behind London Fletcher? WTF?!?5

One positive thing that came out of it was Beason’s attitude about the situation. On his blog, Beason discussed the snub and said that even though he was upset at first, he is just using it as motivation for next year.

Beason, on being left off the Pro Bowl roster:

Initially, I had a lot on my mind, a lot to say. I had a lot of anger as well as disappointment. But I’ve had some time to step back from it and think hard about my words before I said anything, simply based on the fact that Jon Vilma is one of my friends, like me a University of Miami linebacker standout and a guy I admired and looked up to in college.

So even though I felt like I was shafted from the Pro Bowl, I wouldn’t want it to come out publicly in any fashion that I’m downplaying the year he had or the type of player he is.

As far as London Fletcher being the first alternate, I can live with that. He’s had a long and underappreciated career. And in my eyes, I’ve always seen him as a very consistent, very good player.

To me, it’s not so much about breaking records. It reminds me about the Colts having the opportunity to go undefeated and break that record. It’s not about breaking records, it’s about finishing first. To me, that’s all I want to do. Year in and year out, as long as I’m wearing a helmet, as long as my play represents my family and my name, I want to strive to finish first.

When you do that, and it’s overlooked, it is a very demoralizing feeling.

Things like being named NFC Player of the Week and team MVP, as well as the highest praise from the likes of Bill Belichick, Sean Payton and Brian Billick, coaches that are widely respected and renowned, to go out of their way and mention my name as a guy who deserves to go to the Pro Bowl, or make reference to me being one of the best linebackers they’d ever seen, almost makes it hurt worse.

I’m glad that Beason can keep a positive attitude about this situation, even though he got robbed because he plays in a small market. But, I can’t wait to see how he puts this motivation into action next season — hopefully it will lead to a Lombardi Trophy.

So, look out NFL: you’ve got a beast who’s motivated and ready to unleash his fury on anything in his path next season, and it won’t be pretty.

———————————————————————————————————

1 – Ron Meeks’ “Tampa 2” scheme.

2 – He’s the 2nd alternate at MLB, behind London Fletcher, so he wasn’t “completely” left off the roster, but still — it’s a shame that he wasn’t recognized for his awesome season.

3 – If you’ve never been there, they have a lot of information. Check it out here.

4 – No disrespect intended, but it’s true: everyone (read: the media) loves the Saints since Katrina devastated the New Orleans area. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with it, but that shouldn’t be the sole reason for all the attention they’ve gotten since it happened.

5 – Again, no disrespect intended towards London Fletcher, but come on.

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