Jaylon Johnson

Bears Pro Bowl players react to news, share thoughts on honor

Jaylon Johnson and Montez Sweat each earned Pro Bowl nods for the first time in their careers

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Two Bears players were recognized with Pro Bowl honors on Wednesday night, cornerback Jaylon Johnson and defensive end Montez Sweat. The accolades are a small indication of the improvements the team has made after having no players make the Pro Bowl in 2022. On Thursday, the achievement still hadn’t sunk in for Johnson.

“What’s it mean to me? Still trying to put that into words,” Johnson said. “What does that mean? What does that mean? Honestly, just blessed, fortunate to be in the position to have the voting, to have the favor go my way. Just blessed.”

This has been a pivotal year in Johnson’s development as an elite cornerback and he hopes it’s a herald of more good things to come. Johnson has made it clear that he truly covets All-Pro honors. He wants a new deal with the Bears, too, since he’s under contract for just one more game.

“I’ve always wanted some things to go a little differently but I think everything has worked out perfectly this year,” Johnson said. “Hopefully I got one more award left in me and I think that is very tangible and I believe it’s on its way. So just really looking forward to ending this year right and hopefully getting some more accolades.”

Sweat has earned more national praise over his career as part of the Commanders’ fearsome defensive line, playing alongside other big-name players like Chase Young, Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. Now Sweat is the guy for the Bears and now he’s a Pro Bowler for the first time.

“It means a lot, my fifth year in the league,” Sweat said. “Something that every player aspires to get. I’ve been working a long time to get to this point where I am, and I’m still not satisfied.”

The “Tez Effect” gets cited a lot in Chicago, since the defense took its big step forward after GM Ryan Poles brought in Sweat in exchange for a second-round pick. Sweat appreciates the love, but doesn’t buy into the narrative entirely.

“I don’t really want to take credit for what these guys have been able to do around here,” Sweat said. “Man, these boys have been stepping up. They’re playing their asses off. Credit to them. I’m the one getting the credit now, but it’s really all because of those boys.”

The Pro Bowl will take place in Orlando, FL on Feb. 4.

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