It may have taken four seasons, but Terry McLaurin is finally in the Pro Bowl. Something is gnawing at him, though.
After putting up a career-high 1,191 yards on 77 receptions, McLaurin is surrounded by the league's best players in Las Vegas. That includes the six players from the San Francisco 49ers, who just wrapped up their season after falling short in the NFC Championship.
The 49ers may have suffered a convincing defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, but they took down the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys to get there. What's more, they were four quarters away from reaching the Super Bowl.
McLaurin is hungry to have some of that playoff success, too.
"This experience is great and it's cool, but I think we all...want to be playing in the Super Bowl," McLaurin told London Fletcher on "The Player's Club" podcast. "That's definitely at the forefront of your mind."
That is not to say that McLaurin is having a bad time in Las Vegas. McLaurin called it "an unbelievable experience" to be surrounded by the most talented players from the 2022 season, and he considers it a blessing to share that with his family, his girlfriend and his four teammates who also made the trip.
"That's a great accomplishment for us," McLaurin told Julie Donaldson at Saturday's practice. "The guys that we have here are really big parts of our team. We're all leaders. I think it's a great representation of the Commanders and who we are."
The format for the Pro Bowl is obviously different from what players like Jonathan Allen and Tress Way, both of whom have earned a Pro Bowl selection in previous seasons, are used to, but McLaurin has still been able to satisfy his competitive itch this week. He and the rest of the Pro Bowlers opened the skills competition up with a water balloon toss, and in typical fashion, McLaurin made the catch of the night by scooping up his water balloon inches before it hit the ground.
The Washington Commanders' Pro Bowlers were at Allegiant Stadium with the rest of the NFC team for practice. Check out the best photos from Saturday.
McLaurin also competed in the dodgeball competition, and while it took a minute to get mentally prepared for it -- he was not originally supposed to participate and had not played dodgeball in years -- but he eventually showed off some of his athletic skills.
"At the end of the day, that was fun," McLaurin said. "Since they've been doing that event, I've caught it on TV in the past and I was like, 'That would be cool to do that.' It was impromptu, but it was fun to be able to do that."
McLaurin admitted he was a little aggressive during the game.
"I'm competitive," McLaurin said with a smile. "I don't care what we're doing."
McLaurin would certainly like to be back for next year's Pro Bowl. It is a reward for all the work he put in throughout the season to be considered one of the best in his position. That does not supersede his desire to be in the playoffs competing for a chance to win a Super Bowl.
The Washington Commanders' Pro Bowl players kicked off the Pro Bowl skill competitions in Las Vegas with water balloon tosses, dodgeball and more. Take a look back at all the action from Thursday. (Photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)
Washington, which finished the 2022 season with an 8-8-1 record, was just a couple of wins away from being one of the 14 teams to make the postseason after jumping out to a 7-5 record. Things began to fall apart after Week 12, and by the end of Week 17, the Commanders were eliminated from contention.
The Commanders did improve on their 7-10 record from 2021, but it was a hard pill for McLaurin and his teammates to swallow. McLaurin is still in the phase of resting his body, but once he gets back from Las Vegas, it will be back to work to prepare for the 2023 season.
And hopefully, that will lead to more postseason games in McLaurin's future.
"After my four seasons, I've been through a few offseasons now, so I kind of know what my routine and regiment looks like," McLaurin said. "There will come a time where I'm really getting back into the swing of things. I'm ready for the offseason workouts."