The NFL announced its Pro Bowl rosters Wednesday evening. For one player, the announcement also brought a wave of emotions.
The Commanders had four players named to the NFC team, including standouts Jonathan Allen, Terry McLaurin and Tress Way. The least-known of their four — special teams ace Jeremy Reaves — had perhaps the best response.
Coach Ron Rivera kept things discreet as delivered news of the selections to Allen, McLaurin and Way privately. The last player he had to inform was Reaves, an undrafted free agent who has stood out in a big way for Washington.
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When Rivera delivered the news to his special teams star, Reaves couldn’t help but break down.
Check it out here:
get your tissues ready
— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) December 22, 2022
Reaves has had winding journey to special teams Pro Bowler, so it should be no surprise that he was moved to tears by the news.
Who is Jeremy Reaves?
The 26-year old spent four seasons at South Alabama before being snapped up the Eagles as an undrafted free agent. He never saw the field in midnight green; Philadelphia waived him ahead of the 2018 season.
Eventually, he found his way onto the Commanders’ practice squad. It took Reaves three years to secure a permanent spot on the roster, but once he did, he didn’t look back. He has taken the field for 86 percent of Washington’s special teams snaps in 2022.
Jeremy Reaves, Pro Bowl Player: 💪 pic.twitter.com/z4jUb1VV7q
— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) December 22, 2022
Reaves did all this while navigating his own personal turmoil, including losing his mother, Rose, in November 2021. He made sure to give praise to her when accepting the Pro Bowl honor.
Momma you’ve been working! Thank you to the fans, my teammates, family, and the city of Pensacola! ❤️ Delayed not denied!!! https://t.co/5S45lc3HHX
— Jeremy Reaves (@JR1ERA) December 22, 2022
Reaves is a presence in the Commanders’ locker room. No action embodied that more than when McLaurin and Way delighted in the fact that their teammate had earned a place with them in the Pro Bowl. Way even got teary-eyed when finding out before telling Rivera he would like to be in the room when Reaves received the news.
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This year’s Pro Bowl event will take place at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. It may feel like a world away from his hometown of Pensacola, Fla., but you’d have to imagine that Reaves won’t mind too much, especially after everything it has taken for him to get there.