The scoreboard showed that the AFC lost to the NFC on Sunday in the Pro Bowl, but the Jaguars were well-represented in the game by Montell Owens and Marcedes Lewis. Owens scored two touchdowns, on a fumble return and a seven-yard reception, and Lewis scored on a 28-yard reception.
I had a chance to catch up with Owens today via phone at his hotel in Honolulu where he plans on spending another week with his wife, Lisa. Owens was honored to represent the Jaguars and discussed his performance on Sunday and the surreal experience of being around the NFL's elite for the first time.
First of all, how did the week go for you?
It was great. I had a great time just hanging out with the fellas and spending time with my family. You can't beat that, and then you're in one of the most beautiful places in the world. You are out here playing the game you love and it's an experience I will never forget.
*Did you have an idea during the week that you would be used a lot on offense? *
I didn't but I'm used to that in a way. My role with the Jaguars has always kind of been that way, where I'm primarily a special teamer but you never know when your number will be called on offense. As a special teamer you're always on edge so I went into the game thinking I was not going to get that much of an opportunity, and oddly enough I did.
*I saw (offensive coordinator) Dirk Koetter today and we joked about putting you on offense more. You didn't have a reception in 16 games for the Jaguars and you end up with two yesterday. *
That is the way things seemed to go. It's funny because I was also playing the front line on kickoff return and Russ Purnell (special teams coordinator) was asking if I want to play front line when I get back. I told him I'm just grateful for an opportunity and wherever I'm able to help the team the best then that is where I will be.
It was fitting that the first touchdown you scored came covering a kickoff return, the exact reason why you were voted into the game.
Exactly. Bill Belichick and the rest of the Patriots coaches were all proud of me. One of the things I told them was I have to get my points in other ways and they said, 'Hey, that is what you came here for.' I actually scored in a way that I'm used to. I did it a couple years ago at Cincinnati. That was right up my alley.
*After you scored, the first person that greeted you on your way to the sideline was your teammate, Marcedes Lewis. *
I was looking for him, too. Everybody had been slapping me and I was looking for Marcedes to go ahead and get a little chest bump. That was pretty cool. I returned the favor when he scored as well. We had a great time just representing the Jaguars the best way we could.
Did you hear from a lot of your Jaguars teammates last night?
I did. I had a pretty lengthy conversation with Zach Miller. That's what feels good and goes further than any experience here, just knowing that your guys are behind you, and that speaks volumes of the chemistry we have on that team.
At what part of the week did it hit you that you were among the NFL's best?
From the time we got on the plane in Atlanta. Lisa and I sat across the aisle from Robert Mathis (Indianapolis Colts). We knew each other well since we have played against each other all these years. It hit me then. We got off the plane and they had the festivities, they put the leis over our heads, we were all kind of blown away. That's when it really sunk in, just hanging around the guys you play with. It's funny because obviously these guys are all great players and they are wild on the field, but it's so much different when you sit down with them. You get a chance to know him and you're like, 'that is the guy that is in that helmet making that play on Sunday.' It's pretty cool how there is such a big difference between your on the field and off the field character.
How do you think this experience will help you moving forward? I'm sure there is an itch to get back next year and prove you remain one of the NFL's best.
I always put my teammates first before any individual accolade or recognition, and when you do that these things will come. This is just a byproduct of that. Just being out with here with Marcedes, we still maintain that selfless attitude. Our first responsibility is to the Jacksonville Jaguars and it made it kind of difficult at first when you come out here. Everybody is coming from their team and while I'm here my teammates are the most important. These guys deserve my best. It's kind of a funny situation. I want to be the best I can be for the Jaguars. Guys don't want to get injured so it's a funny game in that regard. It's good to be around a lot of these guys, some of the best of the best, and I will bring back to Jacksonville some of the things I have learned about how to be a better pro. That will not only benefit my career, but more importantly our team as we add to the toolbox.
I know you had a chance for a private tour of Pearl Harbor courtesy of a Jacksonville native and Jaguars fan. (Captain R.W. Kitchens is the Commander for the Naval Station Pearl Harbor)
We all went as a family. It was unbelievable. I knew they did things the right way but I just didn't expect or realize how great. He had said over the phone that coming in the evening is so much more of a treat than coming during the day. We got out there in the evening and we had a private boat waiting for us with a crew of three. They gave us a tour of the entire Pearl Harbor and discussed with us the history. The thing that was most interesting to me was the attention to detail. We came up on the dock and when they tied the boat up, they are so detailed in everything they do, they rolled up the excess rope a certain way. There is a special technique. I'm looking at everything they are doing and thinking we as NFL players pay so much attention to detail; they are serving our country and it really felt good knowing those are the type of guys that we have serving our country. That's an honor.