After converting 72 of his 77 catches for first downs in 2010 -- the best first downs per-catch average in a season over the last 10 years -- and scoring 11 touchdowns while averaging 18.8 yards a catch, Broncos receiver Brandon Lloyd was voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, where he'll be a starter.
After spending the first six years of his career with three different teams, Lloyd joined the Denver Broncos in 2009. Last season Lloyd took advantage of his few opportunities, catching 8 passes for 117 yards over a span of two games. After that however, nobody could have predicted Lloyd's breakout season in 2010. His first 1,000 yard season of his career (with 1,448), Lloyd set personal bests in every major receiving category this season.
Tomorrow, Lloyd will compete for the first time with the best of the best in the NFL's All Star game.
"There's not very much separation in talent from player to player," said Lloyd, who was on fire last season after eight average seasons with several teams. "Any player given the opportunity, with teammates who are supporting him, with an organization that supports them, could be awesome and have a breakout season."
Champ Bailey, on the other hand, is going to play in his 10th All Star Game -- more than any other cornerback in the history of the NFL.
“That’s what makes his situation so funny — his status as far as coming back to the Broncos,’’ said Lloyd, who is in Hawaii on his first Pro Bowl appearance. “He’s still got it. It’s not like you can put a number on him and say he’s got another year, or two years. He can play for as long as he’s healthy. If he stays healthy he can play for at least another five years.’’
So while Bailey has been there and done that, Lloyd is humbled and honored to play in the game.
"It was humbling to get that call to come here," Lloyd said. "It was a dream-come-true. There have been so many dreams that have come true in my life. ... There's probably nobody as honored as I am to be out here and playing in this game."
Simon Samano of NFL.com notes that with the outlook he has, Lloyd could end up the games MVP.
"Don’t be surprised if Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd goes off and ends up being named the game’s most valuable player. Obviously, everyone here is honored to have made the Pro Bowl. But of all the players I spoke with this week, nobody meant it like Lloyd, who is looking to wow the crowd. So if Phillip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Matt Cassel decide to look Lloyd’s way often, I’d expect him to shine."
The 2011 NFL All Star Game will be played Sunday at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, at 5 p.m. MT.