*As a 10-year veteran, fullback William Henderson has seen just about everything in the past decade with the Green Bay Packers. He's played in two Super Bowls, won one Super Bowl ring, and played a key role on eight playoff teams, six of them division champions.
Next Sunday though, Henderson will experience something new, playing in his first Pro Bowl after getting an overdue selection to the NFC's all-star team for his performance during the 2004 season.
Henderson became the first fullback in NFL history to serve as the lead blocker for a 1,000-yard rusher in seven straight seasons this year, as Ahman Green ran for 1,163. The bruiser also caught 34 passes out of the backfield for 239 yards and three touchdowns, and continued his stellar special teams play with 12 tackles on kick coverage.
Henderson will be joined in Hawaii by three Green Bay teammates - Green, Marco Rivera, and Javon Walker. This season marked the first time a pair of Packers running backs were selected to the NFL's annual All-Star Game since 1962 when Tom Moore and Jim Taylor were chosen.
The fullback has been to Hawaii before, but never for the Pro Bowl. He will be providing exclusive reports to Packers.com in an online diary that will chronicle his week in the tropical paradise.
The Pro Bowl will be held at Honolulu's Aloha Stadium Sunday, February 13.*
Pro Bowl Diary, Part I - February 3, 2005
I know everyone in the NFL, and practically everyone in the country, are gearing up for the big game this Sunday when the New England Patriots will go up against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville. I'm excited for that game, but even more excited for the game I'll get a chance to play in next Sunday, the Pro Bowl.
My family and I are just about to head out to the airport to get away from the winter weather and fly out to Hawaii. The excitement's kind of coming to a head right now as far as preparation.
We spent the entire night last night re-checking our packing, making sure the family wasn't leaving anything behind that we would find a necessity. We're all excited about making the trip. My son has been talking about going on the airplane for the last two or three days since we promised him that he was going to Hawaii. The excitement for the family is really, really high right now and that's what I'm happy about.
The excitement for the game I really won't feel until all the players are there and everybody is dressed in their uniforms next week.
Since the news came out at the end of the season, I've gotten a lot of congratulations from my teammates and other players around the league. For me, I was truly touched by the fact that my teammates were so excited about me being given the honor of going to the Pro Bowl this year to represent the team along with Marco, Ahman and Javon Walker. That was an amazing feeling and now it's becoming a reality knowing that the game is just right around the corner.
I've been to Hawaii before, but this is the most excited I've been about any trip I've taken out there. I've never been there during Pro Bowl week, so I'm looking forward to all of the festivities.
I told myself I wouldn't go until I was found worthy by the fans and players and the league to actually make it out there. The last few years, everybody has made comments to me that I deserved to go, but to me you don't deserve to go until you go. You just keep working at it and plugging away the best you can.
Some of the guys on the team have been giving me some tips for my first Pro Bowl experience. I've been talking to Bubba, Ahman, Marco - anybody who's gone - trying to find out what to expect from the experience. They've been more than generous with helping me with all the little ins and outs and where to go once we get there. They've been giving me a lot of details and trying to help me out. Everybody's been trying to help me prepare and know where to go and what to do.
They let me know little things like not to give out my room number to other guys on the team because I'm a rookie again and they will probably try to play some pranks on me.
As far as what I'm looking forward to from the week out there, I'm excited about finally getting the chance to take that photo in my uniform at the big press conference where all the players get to be seen with that Pro Bowl jersey representing their team. It's going to be one of the great highlights.
I'm also looking forward to taking photos with some other Tar Heels like (Atlanta Falcons tight end) Alge Crumpler, (Detroit Lions cornerback) Dré Bly, and (Carolina Panthers defensive end) Julius Peppers. We'll be representing North Carolina and I'm very proud of my school.
And I'm also looking forward to the photos with some of my closest friends on the Packers - Javon Walker, Ahman Green, and Marco Rivera - the guys who also made it out there this year. It's going to be a wonderful treat to take those photos and be able to display them at my house.
This is definitely going to be a special week, and I'm looking forward to sharing it with my teammates, and also with my family. Like I said, my wife and two-year-old son are flying out to Hawaii with me today, but there will be a big group joining us next week.
Two of my brothers are going to be coming out next week. My oldest brother just started a new job so he's on a probationary period so he said we'll have to take another trip another time. But then I'm bringing my father and sister out also. And my high school coach and his wife are also going to accompany me out there.
This is going to be a great week, and I'm really excited to just take it all in.
William Henderson's Pro Bowl diary will continue through next week on Packers.com.