Peterson says this Pro Bowl pick most meaningful


Peterson says this Pro Bowl pick most meaningful

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona's Patrick Peterson is headed to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his two seasons in the NFL.

This one, he said, means more because he has been chosen as a cornerback. Last year, as a rookie, he made the Pro Bowl as a punt returner.

``To go as a defensive back, that's huge because at the end of the day that's my primary position,'' Peterson said after the team practiced Thursday. ``That's a huge accomplishment for me, so I just want to continue to get better each and every year and now my goal is to go their every year as a cornerback.''

Hall of Famer Ron Woodson is the only other player to make the Pro Bowl as a returner and defender. Peterson is the first player to be selected for the Pro Bowl in his first two seasons since Vai Sikahema in 1986-87.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Peterson worked hard to improve at cornerback.

``Attention to detail, study,'' Whisenhunt said. ``I think that's a big part of growing up as a young player is understanding how you have to prepare. We know Patrick is very competitive but he's worked very hard at some of the little things you need to when you get into this league and it's shown up on the field.''

Peterson, usually matched against the opponent's top receiver, is tied for second in the NFL with seven interceptions. He also has 15 passes defensed, 57 tackles and one fumble recovery.

Peterson, as confident as they come in pro football, says he expected the selection and considers it a reward for the hard work he has done since the Cardinals made him the No. 5 pick overall in the 2011 draft.

``It was a goal that I set for myself at the beginning of the year,'' he said. ``I believe I worked extremely hard from OTAs to minicamps to training camp, during the season. It just goes to show the hard work does pay off.''

He said he's improved his patience and his technique from his rookie season to this year.

``Being able to understand the game,'' Peterson said. ``It's slowed down tremendously for me. And learning the concepts of the route combination these receivers want to do in certain situations. Just those little things helped me tremendous to come into my second year having a breakout year.''

Peterson was fourth at cornerback in fan voting but surged onto the team based on votes from coaches and players.

``That's huge,'' he said. ``That goes to show I do have the respect from my colleagues. The fans, they're going off stats and all that stuff, but coaches, they look at the film. They break down the film. They watch the technique. They watch how hard I work each and every play. I tip my hat off to the coaches and players who helped me get this spot.''

Peterson is Arizona's only Pro Bowl selection. Inside linebacker Daryl Washington and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald were chosen as alternates.

``I am kind of disappointed,'' Washington said. ``I guess today kind of showed it a little bit. Guys were kind of encouraging me. I thought I really had it in the book, but you've got to give credit to those guys in front of me, Lavar Bowman and Patrick Willis. Those guys have much respect for me and I wish those guys the best. Hopefully they get to the title game so I can get in there somehow, but much respect to those guys.''

Whisenhunt said that with Washington ``coming out of nowhere'' to prominence, it sometimes takes a year for his performance to reflect in the Pro Bowl balloting. Washington, in his third pro season, has nine sacks, one shy of the franchise best for a linebacker. He leads the team with 128 tackles, 110 solos, with an interception, 14 quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Fitzgerald is a six-time Pro Bowl player, including the last five seasons in a row. But he was surprised to get any mention after all the quarterback troubles of the Arizona offense, which ranks last in the NFL. The quarterbacks' inability to get the ball to Fitzgerald is a big reason the team has lost 10 of 11 after a 4-0 start.

The franchise record holder in virtually all receiving categories, Fitzgerald has 69 catches for 785 yards and four touchdowns. With one game remaining, Sunday at San Francisco, he seems likely to fall short of 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in six years.


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Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

A couple of weeks ago, John Wall was spotted at a Washington Mystics game with no brace to support his Achilles injury, a sign that his rehab from the injury was moving in the right direction. 

On Monday night at the 2019 NBA Awards, the Wizards point guard gave affirmation that he is indeed continuing to get healthier and stronger.

"I feel great, man," Wall told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller on the red carpet. "I'm doing a great job with my body, taking care of that."

Specifically, Wall has been able to slowly increase what he can do on his legs. The recovery and rehab for an injury as severe as his is a long road, and the point guard is making sure not to speed up the process and risk hindering the progress. However, he's about to reach a pretty big milestone in the journey during the coming weeks.

"I'm about to start jogging in like two weeks. Just riding the bike, I get to do exercises standing up now, so I don't have to sit down. I'm able to move, do ladder steps, doing those types of things," Wall said. "Just taking my time and progressing and letting everything heal the right way so I don't force myself back and get another injury."

As Wall continues to work to get back on the court, he's had plenty of motivational factors pushing him through some grueling months. His recent string of injuries have left some wondering if he'll still be an elite player when he finally.

He's heard those comments and he's using them to his advantage.

"I'm one of those guys that's very driven by all the hate and all the negative talk I'm getting. Keep it going," Wall said.

"Everybody said I can't be myself, I won't be nowhere near as good again. That's all the other stuff that's going to fuel me. I don't get upset about it, you're entitled to your own opinion. Please keep it going."

The haters have given Wall some extra juice, but so has his son Ace. Spending the offseason getting right has allowed Wall to work in another area of life: fatherhood.

The newest addition to his family has taken his desire for greatness to new heights.

"I've always had that drive that I want to be the greatest. To have a son like that, that's watching everything I can do. Even though he doesn't understand what's going on, he's putting memories in his head," Wall said. 

"So that gives me extra, extra motivation to another level I never thought I could. Like I said before, that's the best blessing a man could ever ask for is to have a son."

While Wall's offseason has been a busy one as he juggles rehab and being a dad, he's still been very involved in everything going on inside the franchise.

He's already chatted with first-round draft pick Rui Hachimura, and is excited for what is to come for the Wizards. Wall is also hoping that Hachimura will help improve his Japanese so that he can grow a larger following internationally. 

As the calendar slowly turns to July, both Wall and the Wizards' offseasons will ramp up. It's been an up and down time for both lately, but he's excited about the future.

"I think it's good," Wall said about the Wizards situation. "We added some pieces. See what we do in free agency to add some guys to bring back or we're going to go after somebody new. I think we'll be fine."


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Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

While he was putting together the best season of his career, Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal was also making a profound impact off the court and those efforts have earned him a significant honor, the NBA's 2018-19 Community Assist Award.

The news was revealed at Monday's NBA Awards in Santa Monica, CA as Beal got the nod over nine other finalists. He is the second Wizards player to win the honor in just the last four years following John Wall in 2015-16.

Beal was involved in a variety of charitable efforts this past season. He has partnered with the Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Northeast Washington to help underprivileged youth. He visited the school in December and gave out shoes.

During the All-Star break in February, as he made his second appearance in the annual showcase, Beal handed out meals at a food bank alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This past year he also gave out Christmas presents in the Washington area and took a group of kids on a tour of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Beal was named a finalist for the Community Assist Award in April along with Jarrett Allen (Nets), Mike Conley (Jazz), Khris Middleton (Bucks), Donovan Mitchell (Jazz), Dwight Powell (Mavs) and Pascal Siakam (Raptors). Part of the criteria was based on fan voting through social media that was held from April 24 through May 25.

Beal, 25, continues to ascend on the court as well. This year he posted career-highs in points (25.6/g), assists (5.5/g) and rebounds (5.0/g). He nearly made All-NBA in late May with the most votes of any guard that was left out.

In Beal and Wall, the Wizards have quite the combination. Both have been All-Stars on the court and now both can say they won the NBA's top honor for charity work as well.