PDHS Grad Becomes 2nd Pro Bowler In Coachella Valley History - Palm Springs News, Weather, Traffic, Breaking News

PDHS Grad Becomes 2nd Pro Bowler In Coachella Valley History

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Palm Desert, CA -

"Second year? Pro Bowl player? ... Unbelievable..." Former Palm Desert head football coach Pat Blackburn is proud of his former player DJ Alexander.  

In only his second year in the NFL, Alexander is only the second football player from the Coachella Valley to play in the Pro Bowl. And the first in nearly 4 decades. 

Indio's Ed White, the man the school's stadium is named after, made 4 Pro Bowls. The first coming in the 6th year of his illustrious NFL career. 

Again, Alexander just finished his 2nd year in the league. 

"If I were to characterize the way he plays the game," says Blackburn of Alexander. "It's fast, aggressive and hard and now he's reached one the pinnacles, fast and hard... For him, 100 percent effort has always paid off and that's always how he's played the game." 

The Kansas City Chiefs, coming off one of the franchise's most successful seasons in decades, call Alexander, their special teams ace and he garnered national attention during prime-time game broadcasts. 

But how Alexander found out about his Pro Bowl nod?  He says it was a surprise phone call from Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey. 
Alexander tells KMIR that surprise phone calls from the team's GM is usually bad news: A trade or worse, getting released. 
But for DJ, it was good news. A congratulations from his GM and a trip to Orlando. 

And Blackburn, formerly Alexander's football coach at Palm Desert High School  says he was working out when he got his own surprise phone call. 

"And it was the NFL, and I was like holy..." Blackburn smiles. "So that was a neat surprise..."

Looking to honor high school coaches of Pro Bowl players, the NFL arranged for Blackburn to meet Alexander in Orlando. 

"They're realizing the impact that high school coaches have, its the beginning of those guys career," says Blackburn the day before he flew out to Orlando. "We usually set a nice foundation for them when they go to college and ultimately, if they're lucky enough to make it to the pros..."

Alexander acknowledges that foundation every chance he gets and posted on social media recognition of his former coach's impact.  

Blackburn and the rest of the Pro Bowlers high school coaches will be honored in pre-game ceremonies. The Pro Bowl is Sunday at 5 pm pst on ESPN. 

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