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Reaves' Pro Bowl experience 'everything I thought it would be'

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NFL players like to stay updated with their peers, even those who are not on the same team, and San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner knows all about Jeremy Reaves.

"Guys keep up with each other in the league," Reaves told London Fletcher on "The Players' Club" podcast. "Fred Warner was like, 'Yo, you're a dog.' Hearing that from guys that play defense, and they respect what I do on teams and on defense, that's the coolest part of it."

Reaves, one of five players selected from the Washington Commanders' roster to the Pro Bowl in Las Vegas, set a goal for himself to earn a spot on the all-star roster. He earned that accolade, among several others, for a season in which he was tied for third in special teams tackles.

Reaves is soaking in every moment.

"It's everything I thought it would be, getting out here with the guys that are considered the best," Reaves said.

Reaves called it a surreal moment to be surrounded by the league's best players, and for them to know who he is, but Reaves has shown that he deserves to be among them. On top of being a Pro Bowl selection, he was voted as a First Team All-Pro by the NFLPA and the Pro Football Writers of America, and his peers recently voted him as the best core special teams player in the league.

Reaves' success has been a satisfying chapter in his story, which includes him earning a spot on the Commanders' 53-man roster in August after being cut and put on the practice squad multiple times. His story has struck a chord with many around the league, even the greatest players to ever play the game like Hall of Fame quarterback and AFC captain Peyton Manning.

"He was like, 'Your story is super cool. I'm proud of you, congrats,'" Reaves recalled of his interaction with Manning.

Conversations with All-Pros and Hall of Famers aside, Reaves has made sure to enjoy the new format of the Pro Bowl week, which involved games and a skills competition. His partner, Dallas Cowboys return specialist KaVontae Turpin, got them eliminated during the water balloon toss, but it was still an enjoyable experience.

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)

Reaves' first night of the games also included a lightning round and a dodgeball game. The events are supposed to be fun, but with a bunch of professional athletes on the field at the same time, it does not take long for the competitive juices to flow.

"We're trying to win. Nobody likes to lose," Reaves said. "So, yeah, it starts getting competitive, guys get to chirping at each other, and it's just like being on the field."

Part of the fun has been figuring out the games on the fly. Reaves found out about the games he was participating in when he arrived in Las Vegas.

"They gave us a little 10-minute walkthrough of what is going on and what we're doing. After that, it was 'go play.'"

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.

The weekend is going to culminate with a flag football game, and while the defense they learned is simple -- five days of preparation limits how complicated the plays can be -- the rules are obviously a little different compared to traditional football.

Players are not allowed to jump, stiff arm swipe or impede a runner's progress during the game, which includes two, 10-minute halves.

"It's so different trying to grab a flag against the most skilled people in the world," Reaves said. "So, this will be real interesting."

Reaves is not going to be aiming for a flag all the time, though.

"I'm gonna go get me a pick," Reaves said. "I don't want that flag. I want that ball."

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