Antrel Rolle has been de-snubbed.
The Giants safety was named to the Pro Bowl on Monday as an alternate because elected starter Earl Thomas of the Seahawks will be preparing for the Super Bowl. When he was not named to the team last month, Rolle griped about it on Twitter and then again in the Giants' locker room when the regular season ended.
"It's never been about going to Hawaii," Rolle said on Monday. "I've been to Hawaii before. I've enjoyed the festivities, I've enjoyed the honor of being a Pro Bowl safety, a Pro Bowl player. That was never what it was about. It was always about getting what I very well deserved and what I accomplished throughout the year, and going out there and representing my team, the New York Giants."
This is the third Pro Bowl selection for Rolle. He was selected in 2009 as a member of the Cardinals and the following year as a Giant. He will be the only Giant at the game, which will be played Sunday in Honolulu. It's the first time the Giants will not have multiple Pro Bowlers since 2007, when Osi Umenyiora was their lone representative.
"It was definitely one of my best years," Rolle said of 2013, in which he set a career-high with six interceptions and led the team with 106 tackles. "Not so much for the big plays I made, but for being a very, very consistent player at whatever position I'm asked to play. It's going out there and playing that position at a dominant level. And for overall understanding of the game and understanding leadership, being a veteran guy. That speaks more for me than any interception I had or any sack. My leadership alone and being able to stand strong through times of adversity mean more to me than anything."
The Giants started the season with six straight losses and Rolle was largely credited with keeping the team together. They nearly came back from that deep hole late in the year, but a loss to the Cowboys on Nov. 24 virtually eliminated them. In that game Rolle had to move to a cornerback position in the fourth quarter due to an injury to Trumaine McBride and was beaten on four passes to Dez Bryant on the Cowboys' game-winning drive.
"It means everything to go out there and represent your team," Rolle said. "We didn't have the best season. So to go out there and represent my team and to be solidified as a Pro Bowl safety speaks volumes for myself as well as the organization."
Rolle may get a chance to cover Bryant again. Because the teams at the Pro Bowl will be drafted and no longer representing conferences, Rolle and Bryant could be on opposing teams in the game.
"It's not strange," Rolle said of the new arrangement. "We're all prolific players in this league and we've played against each other at some point in time, either this season or in other seasons. I kind of like the whole setup, not knowing who's going to be on your team, not knowing who's going to be by your side. It's just going out there and playing ball and developing that chemistry in a week's time to go out there and get a win."