Bears veteran guard Josh Sitton has been added to the NFC Pro Bowl roster, replacing former Packers teammate T.J. Lang, who was injured in Sunday's NFC Championship Game.
Sitton will make his third straight trip to the Pro Bowl and fourth overall. He appeared in 13 games with 12 starts in his first season with the Bears. The 6-3, 318-pounder signed with the Bears Sept. 4, one day after he was released by the Packers following nine seasons in Green Bay.
"It's a great honor," Sitton said. "It's always a goal of mine every year. I think it's a goal of most guys. Just like every time in the past, it's an honor to me and an honor to the guys I played with. I couldn't have done it without the dudes around me, Charles [Leno Jr.] and Cody [Whitehair] especially helping me along and helping me kind of being thrown into the fire there at the beginning of the year. So it's definitely a great honor."
Sitton started the season opener just seven days after he was signed—following several late-night cram sessions with the Bears playbook.
"It was challenging for sure," Sitton said. "It was something that I haven't had to do in quite some time. And while it was challenging, it was kind of stimulating to be thrown in the fire like that and learn the offense in four or five days. It was pretty cool actually."
Sitton's addition gives the Bears two Pro Bowlers. He'll join rookie running back Jordan Howard in the all-star game, which will be played Saturday night in Orlando.
Sitton's first trip to the Pro Bowl in 2012 was special, but he's just as proud of making it this year at the age of 30.
"Each one you get you're very, very thankful for," Sitton said. "The first one is probably the best one and then the older you get the more you appreciate them. You can't play at a high level in this game forever. I don't know if I'll ever get back. So the whole old age thing makes it even more special."
Sitton is excited about working with new offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn and feels that the line is capable of taking major strides in 2017.
"I think that you can see what we were capable of as the season got going and we started developing a little chemistry together," Sitton said. "We're a pretty good offensive line. We've got some talent. We've got some guys that care. We've got some guys that are smart and that want to win, and that's big, guys that want to win.
"I think that honestly for being thrown into the fire like we were, and Cody switching [to center] and me coming in last second, I think we had a heck of a year. I think we can only get better now that we're going to be able to have an offseason together and I'm excited to see what we can do."