NEW YORK – The NFL Pro Bowl rosters for next year will be selected in a draft by team captains, with Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice assisting as alumni captains.
The NFL will abandon the AFC vs. NFC format that has been in place since 1971.
The league said Wednesday that fan voting will determine the players in the draft pool. The draft will be televised by the NFL Network on Jan. 22. The game will be played Jan. 26 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
Also, the ball will change hands at the end of each quarter, which could double the opportunities for 2-minute drills. Kickoffs (and return specialists) will be eliminated — teams will start on their 25. Defenses will be allowed to play cover-2 and press coverage in addition to man, and several clock tweaks have been instituted to speed up the game and prompt offensive play.
BRONCOS: Denver lured offensive lineman Ryan Lilja out of retirement, agreeing to terms.
The Broncos are searching for a replacement at center for Dan Koppen, who is out for the season after tearing his left ACL last weekend. Manny Ramirez, who took most of the snaps at center during Denver’s offseason practices, has filled in for Koppen the last few days in training camp.
• Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was helped off the field after hurting his left ankle in a drill at training camp.
EAGLES: Saying he was “ashamed and disgusted” with himself, receiver Riley Cooper apologized repeatedly for making a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert that was caught on video and led to him getting fined.
The video of Cooper using the N-word surfaced on the Internet. Cooper issued a statement of apology, then met with reporters outside the team’s practice facility.
SEVENTEEN PRO Football Hall of Famers and Dave Robinson, who will be inducted this weekend, signed a letter telling Commissioner Roger Goodell they are concerned about medical care for former players and the league’s “continued denial of the link between repeated head impacts and permanent brain damage.”
The letter, signed by NFL greats including Tony Dorsett, Floyd Little, Leroy Kelly and Paul Krause, comes just a few days ahead of the Hall of Fame festivities in Canton, Ohio.
JETS: Defensive back Dee Milliner, a first-round draft pick, participated in some drills as he joined teammates on the practice field for the first time in training camp.
Milliner signed a four-year deal with the Jets after a brief holdout and said his surgically repaired right shoulder felt “great.” He hasn’t fully practiced since being drafted by New York in April after having his shoulder operated on in March.
REDSKINS: Quarterback Robert Griffin III had about “16 or 17″ snaps during seven-on-seven drills.
That’s an increase from eight snaps the first few days and 10 snaps the next few days as Griffin works back into shape following reconstructive knee surgery.
nVeteran linebacker Nick Barnett agreed to a one-year deal after two days of workouts with the team.
CHARGERS: San Diego signed free-agent quarterback Nathan Enderle.
Enderle, a four-year starter at Idaho, was a fifth-round draft choice of Chicago in 2011. He spent that season on the active roster but didn’t play in any games.
BILLS: Defensive end Mario Williams requires rest and treatment to allow his sore left foot time to heal, Coach Doug Marrone said after Williams returned to training camp following a two-day absence.
Clearing up days of speculation and questions, Marrone said Williams was examined by team doctors and a North Carolina-based foot specialist, Robert Anderson. Though there’s no timetable for when Williams will be cleared for practice, Marrone said it’s likely a matter of days.
• Buffalo signed rookie free-agent defensive back Don Unamba.
DOLPHINS: Receiver Brian Hartline sat out practice, two days after appearing to sustain a minor injury in a practice drill and missing a scrimmage.
Coach Joe Philbin has maintained a policy of not disclosing any information relating to injuries. Hartline worked with trainers in the early part of practice.
• Receiver Julius Pruitt re-signed with Miami, which cut him near the end of training camp last year.
COWBOYS: Dallas signed rookie free-agent defensive end Toby Jackson and released defensive tackle Ikponmwosa Igbinosun.
The moves are part of a revolving door on the defensive line as the Cowboys await the return of Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratliff, and deal with a season-ending Achilles tendon tear for Tyrone Crawford.
JAGUARS: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert was in pads and at practice, but still a day away from a full return.
Gabbert took limited snaps — none in 11-on-11 drills — while recovering from a sprained right ankle. Chad Henne got all the repetitions with the first-team offense, and Mike Kafka got second-team work.
COLTS: Cornerback Greg Toler finished the afternoon practice on the sideline after being diagnosed with a concussion.
Indianapolis signed Toler as a free agent in March, a move team officials hope will provide improvement and depth.