ORLANDO, Fla. - The year couldn't have gone any better for Shaq Barrett when it comes to personal accomplishments.
After spending his first five years as a backup with the Broncos, the outside linebacker broke out from the shadows in Denver and earned the right to be on stage with the NFL's biggest stars. He's the new Pro Bowl rookie.
"It just feels good,” said Barrett. "There's some people that are here for the first time as well as me. It's good to talk to them to see how they are reacting and see how they're doing. Then there are the guys that have been here multiple years, the Pro Bowl vets, so they know what they are doing. They know how it goes, so I'm just trying to get the feel for everything and just have fun."
Barrett is also doing some reconnaissance work. He's still looking to improve his game, getting advice from Pro Bowl peers, who also want to know his sack secrets.
"I'm like, 'How do you do that?'” said Barrett. ”They ask me, 'How do YOU do that?' And I'm like, yeah, or I show them or something like that. It's just cool because I do watch these guys on film all the time and do like seeing how good they are. Just be able to talk to them and get advice from them. Possibly give them advice too is just as cool."
Barrett wants to spend this week at Disney enjoying all the events, but in the back of his mind is his future.
He's set to become a free agent again on March 18 and is in line for a huge payday. Barrett made just $5 million this past season with the Bucs. The NFL's top five sack leaders all made over $20 million last season. Barrett knows his new deal is going to be generational money.
"I'm not thinking about exact values I just know whatever it is going to set me up and my family for the rest of our lives,” said Barrett. "It will take care of my kids and their kids."
Barrett isn't sure if a deal with the Bucs will be done in time to avoid him becoming a free agent, but have there been good talks so far?
"Yeah, I don't know about my agents,” said Barrett. "[Agent] Drew Rosenhaus has talked to the coaches and they like me a lot. They really decided they want to bring me back."
Barrett also took the time to take care of one special kid at practice with two tickets to this year’s Super Bowl.
The recipient has had to take on a lot of responsibility since his father was paralyzed from ALS and his mother was diagnosed with cancer.
"I don't know how it would feel to receive two Super Bowl [tickets],” said Barrett. "As a kid, that would be the best thing that ever happened to me. Just to be able to do that for somebody, just means the world."
As a player, Barrett said the only way he'll go now is if he's playing. So for this week, he'll settle for Disney World.