A casual dinner out with some old college friends near the Boise State campus turned into a celebration for Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin on Sunday night.
Martin, whose 1,926 all-purpose yards were the third most ever for an NFL rookie, was added to the NFC squad for next Sunday's Pro Bowl game in Honolulu, Hawaii, the league announced.
"I was just getting ready to go to dinner with some friends when we heard the news,'' Martin told the Tampa Tribune. "Now we're going to have a little bit of a celebration.
"I'm very excited. I knew there was a 50-50 chance that I could make it. I figured if I didn't, I'd just wait and try again next year, but now I get to go this year and I'm really looking forward to it.''
Martin, who was named a first alternate at the running back position after fan, player and coach balloting ended, made the team because San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore is headed to the Super Bowl.
He becomes the third Bucs player to reach the Pro Bowl this year. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy made the original roster while wide receiver Vincent Jackson also made the team as an alternate.
This marks the first time since 2008, when cornerback Ronde Barber, linebacker Derrick Brooks, guard Davin Joseph and return man Clifton Smith made the team that the Bucs have sent at least three players to the Pro Bowl.
Martin was drafted 30th overall last April and broke into the Bucs starting lineup immediately, starting all 16 games and finishing the season with a Bucs rookie record 1,454 rushing yards.
Martin also amassed 472 receiving yards and scored 12 touchdowns (11 rushing), making him the most productive rookie since Edgerrin James, who accumulated 2,139 total yards for the Indianapolis Colts in 1999.
Martin's 1,454 rushing yards were the fifth-most in the NFL this season, while his 11 rushing touchdowns tied for the fifth-most in the league. His 1,926 yards from scrimmage were the third-most in the NFL.
Martin's breakout game came in Week 9 at Oakland, where he ran for 251 yards – the tenth-most in a single game in NFL history – and scored four touchdowns, the most by any player in the league this year.
Martin's selection marks the fourth time in franchise history that Tampa Bay has sent a running back to the Pro Bowl joining Mike Alstott (1997-2002), Warrick Dunn (1997, 2000) and James Wilder (1984).