To steal a line from Herm Edwards: You play to win the game.
Even in a meaningless Pro Bowl game, the competitive spirit of some players can't be squashed.
Kirk Cousins threw a late interception off the hands of tight end Jimmy Graham, as the NFC was driving for a potential game-tying score. Instead of standing and watching the play, the free-agent-to-be quarterback hustled down the field to make the strip tackle on corner Aqib Talib.
Cousins had a simple answer when asked why he'd hustle to make that play in an exhibition.
"It's because I want to win, man," he told ESPN after the game. "I thought I had a chance to strip it, and maybe we'd recovered it. I don't know. Something could've happened. You never know. You got to play it all the way through."
It's not exactly Don Beebe in Super Bowl XXVII, but let's get another look at that strip:
The AFC retained possession to end the game with the 20-13 win. Fortunately for Cousins, he did not get hurt on the play -- or this would be a much different post.
Set to become a free agent, or get franchise tagged again for about $24 million, Cousins could have cost himself money had he blown a wheel trying to tackle Talib in a meaningless game. Yet, the quarterback's inability to let the play go epitomizes why coaches love Cousins.
"When I look at Kirk Cousins, I think he's probably their best player," ESPN analyst Jon Gruden said during the Pro Bowl broadcast, via the Washington Post. "He's a guy you can win with. I think he's going nowhere."
Given that Jon is the brother of Redskins coach Jay Gruden, those words should be taken as more than a guesstimation of a clueless analyst.
Cousins will either get tagged again or handed a huge contract offer from the Redskins in the coming weeks. When a team finds a capable player at the scarcest position in sports, it doesn't let him walk out the building without a plan to replace him. When that player comes with the competitive fire like Cousins, it makes the decision easier.