Photo Cred: Matt Becker, Green Bay Packers
By Mark Eckel, Player Engagement Insider
When Green Bay Packers safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix found out he made the 2017 Pro Bowl, he couldn’t tell anyone.
“My phone broke that morning as soon as I got to work,’’ Clinton-Dix said.
Then even as others heard the news and called, or texted him, he was still muffled by the broken phone.
“My mom, I couldn’t respond to her. I couldn’t respond to anyone, because of the phone,’’ Clinton-Dix said.
Finally, he borrowed teammate Morgan Burnett’s phone and was able to spread the word before his phone finally got fixed later that day. For Clinton-Dix making his first Pro Bowl in just his third NFL season was an honor he’ll always cherish.
“It really didn’t sink in at first,’’ he said. “But it was a dream come true for me.’’
The Packers’ first-round pick out of Alabama in 2014, an athletic 6-foot-1, 208-pound safety, has played in every game through his first three years and has continued to get better every season.
His five interceptions and seven passes defended were both career highs in 2016. He also had 80 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble for the NFC North Champion Packers.
Clinton-Dix gives a lot of the credit for his success to his position coach, Darren Perry, and his teammates.
“I owe a lot to Darren Perry. I don’t think I’d be this far this early (in his career) if it weren’t for him pushing me to run an extra second, or showing me a play on film and then telling me when I see it, that the green light is on to go do it and not to be afraid to take that next step,’’ Clinton-Dix said. “And then my teammates have kept me focused and on the right track all season. They are a big part of this as well. (To make the Pro Bowl) it’s an honor. It’s a blessing. I feel blessed.’’
Perry was the one who delivered the news to Clinton-Dix on his Pro Bowl selection.
“When I told him, I’m not sure it sunk in at first,’’ Perry said. “But he was honored, and he should be.’’
Perry has watched Clinton-Dix grow as a player and as one of the Packers’ leaders.
“He continues to grow,’’ the assistant coach said. “He’s still learning, but he become a leader. The way he goes about his business is a great example for the younger guys. And he’s always been a hard worker.’’
The NFL has moved the Pro Bowl, which will take place this year, January 29th, to Orlando, Florida, which just happens to be Clinton-Dix’s hometown.