C.J. Mosley has already seen just about everything in his young football career.
He won a national championship and was an All-American at Alabama. He was a first-round NFL draft pick. He performed as one of the best rookies in the league, and helped lead his team to a playoff victory.
But coming to the Pro Bowl and being surrounded by some of the best players in the NFL* *is still somewhat hard to fathom for the 22-year-old linebacker.
"It's still so unreal," Mosley said. "I played through a whole season. I tackled Tom Brady, players like that. And I still feel like I'm a little kid around all these veterans and some of these great players that I've seen and watched growing up."
Mosley and fellow Raven Justin Forsett are soaking up the time in Arizona for their first trip to the NFL's all-star game. Trips to the Pro Bowl are tough to come by, and the first-timers are making sure to enjoy the whole experience.
"It's very laid back," Mosley said. "Guys are just socializing and having fun. You get to meet some of the alumni from your college that you played with. I'm just taking it all in and enjoying it with my family."
Mosley and Forsett took very different paths to the Pro Bowl.
Mosley made the game after a stellar rookie season where he was the No. 17 overall pick. Forsett was the No. 233 overall selection in the 2008 draft, and he made the Pro Bowl after playing for five different teams in his first seven seasons.
"Ever since I came into the league, it has been a goal of mine to make the Pro Bowl," Forsett said.
In addition to the honor of making the game, the trip is also a bit of a family vacation for Forsett. He came to Phoenix with his wife and 2-year-old son, and the cross-country trip from Baltimore wasn't easy with a toddler.
"That was an adventure. I feel bad for whoever had to clean up our area after we got off the plane," Forsett joked. "Having this time with family, seeing my son jumping in the pool, things like that – those are memories I'll have forever."
Forsett and Mosley are taking it easy during the week of practice, but they will turn up the intensity once they take the field Sunday.
Forsett is heading into an uncertain time of free agency and Mosley is still on his rookie deal, so the purse awarded to the winning team is an alluring objective for both players.
"At the end of the day, everyone wants to get paid. I'm going to have fun with it, but I'm going to try to make a play or two," Mosley said. "I'm going to play my game. They say that some guys go soft, or don't really play that hard, but I'm going to do what I have to do."