Saints’ Larry Warford caught off guard by last-minute Pro Bowl invite

Larry Warford watched the NFC Championship game not even realizing what was at stake for him.

The New Orleans Saints guard witnessed the Eagles thump the Vikings far off the beaten path at his friend's house on a couch in Kentucky. He knew he was an alternate for the Pro Bowl at the original announcement. It drifted far from his mind.

Then the rest played out in warp speed.

Saints defensive end trying to enjoy his third Pro Bowl trip, but can't shake the NFC Divisional loss to the Vikings

"The game ended and I was sitting on my friend's coach chillin' and I saw a call from New Orleans," Warford said. "I didn't know who it was so I didn't answer it. I was like 'Whatever, I'll answer it later.'"

Warford watched a voicemail and a text pop up on his screen.

"'Hey Larry, this is Khai (Harley) from the Saints. I was calling you about the Pro Bowl and if you wanted to go.' I got off the phone and I was like, 'Wait! What?!?!?!' I was like OK. ... I had to pack up everything real quick and I was on a plane."

Warford didn't ponder an Eagles win meant an open spot at guard for the Pro Bowl. The Eagles' Brandon Brooks would miss the Pro Bowl to play in the Super Bowl.

The Saints guard basically gathered what he could and headed down to Florida.

"It was so last minute and I wasn't prepared at all," Warford said. "I'm here now and I'm excited to be here."

Warford became the seventh Saints player to land in this year's annual NFL all-star game. He's following Sean Payton's Pro Bowl mantra as much as possible. Warford is soaking it all in given how much elite talent is on display all week at ESPN's Wide World of Sports during practice.

The NFC head coach hopes his players relish their time at the annual NFL all-star game

"It's awesome," Warford said. "You play against these guys all year and you hear about them and watch film and oh my God, these guys are crazy. Just to be around them and see how they work and the knowledge that they have, it's a blessing to be here."

The Saints offensive line played better as a whole during 2017 than in the previous couple of seasons. Given the success of the Saints ground game with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, someone from the offensive line arguably deserved a roster spot before the alternate process commenced.

Warford isn't into stressing about any snub chatter, though. He's off the couch and with the NFL's elite right now.

"I don't get into that," Warford said. "Whoever votes, that's what they voted. I don't look too much into that. I felt like all of my guys are deserving to be here for sure. They played lights out and had a really successful season. As far as all that snub stuff? Whatever. I'm just playing for my team."

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