In the end, Donald Driver's head-turning 2002 campaign will take him to paradise after all.
Tuesday, the NFL said that Driver would replace Minnesota's Randy Moss at the Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, February 2. Moss is unable to participate due to a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
Having entered the year with 37 career receptions over three seasons, Driver had a breakout year in 2002, leading the Packers with 70 receptions for 1,064 yards and nine touchdowns.
"I'm more surprised than anything," said Driver, who admitted disappointment over not making the team in December. "I feel like I probably should have went to the Pro Bowl without having to wait (as an alternate), but because of that waiting, I think I'm more excited now."
Driver will join Packers tight end Bubba Franks, guard Marco Rivera and safety Darren Sharper on the NFC's all-star team.
Brett Favre was named to the Pro Bowl team, but will be replaced by Philadelphia's Donavan McNabb due to an ankle/foot injury. Running back Ahman Green also made the team, but is expected to be replaced by Minnesota's Michael Bennett due to a knee injury.
"Maybe I'm a little biased, but I thought he could have made the Pro Bowl the first time around based on everything he did this season," said Packers wide receivers coach Ray Sherman, who watched Driver's metamorphosis from a third-down receiver in 2001, to a game-breaking play-maker in 2002.
"It doesn't surprise me one bit. I've had guys around the league call me and talk to me about Donald, telling me what an exciting player he is. He's for real.
"I couldn't be more excited for him. He's just a terrific guy, a great person to be around. He works so hard and has such tremendous heart. He definitely deserves it."
A seventh-round draft choice out of Alcorn State in 1999, Driver becomes the lowest-drafted Packers player to participate in the Pro Bowl since Larry McCarren (12th-round pick, 1973) in 1983.
Don Majkowski, a 10th-round selection in 1987, earned a 1989 Pro Bowl bid to back up Joe Montana, but didn't play because of personal reasons.
"You can't take anything for granted," Driver said. "I'm happy. I've worked hard to get here. I told my wife, 'We did it, we all made it to the Pro Bowl.'"