NFL: 25 Most Surprising Pro Bowl Picks This Century: 11. 2003 Shelton Quarles
Shelton Quarles is a pretty high-ranking front office member for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today, but back in the early parts of the 2000s, he was a pretty good linebacker for that same franchise. He joined the Bucs after he was forced to play in Canada for a few years, and he carved out a 10-year career in Tampa. He was a serviceable linebacker for a franchise with one of the great defenses of the era.
When looking at that 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that won the Super Bowl, how many defensive players come up? There is Warren Sapp, Ronde Barber, John Lynch, Simeon Rice, Derrick Brooks, and Dexter Jackson all holding court for one of the best units in the history of the game. Somehow, Quarles was able to make the Pro Bowl that year alongside a lot of them.
This isn’t trying to take anything away from Quarles. He was a part of one of the best defenses of our time. He had 113 tackles that season. He even returned an interception for a touchdown that season. It’s still surprising to see his name as one of the representatives for that championship squad.
Quarles is beloved as a Bucs player, and it was devastating when he broke his forearm in the first month of next season. He stayed with the franchise until the 2007 NFL Draft when he failed a physical and the Bucs let him go. He stayed with the franchise in the front office for a reason, and he’s always going to have a special place in Tampa’s heart. Still, sending him to a Pro Bowl stands out.