Monday, March 10, 2014
From news service reports
HONOLULU - Adrian Peterson signed and tossed miniature footballs into the Aloha Stadium stands, then chatted up Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson and Marcus Allen. Arian Foster played Peyton Manning's bodyguard for stadium cameras and told fans he recently walked on hot lava.
The Pro Bowl players practiced a little, too, on a sunny Saturday in Honolulu, one day before an all-star game that will likely be used to determine its own future.
But the game's main purpose is fun, said several players, including Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph and Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles.
"I feel like there's no responsibility, it's just all about fun," Charles said. "You work hard during the year -- it's not like a competitive game."
Competition -- or at least the appearance of it -- is exactly what the NFL is looking for from its stars on Sunday as it uses the game as a measurement of whether it's worth putting on in future years. Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the game will stop if play doesn't improve, drawing mixed reactions from top players all over the league.
Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman says he doesn't want this year's Pro Bowl players to be known as the group who led to the game's cancellation, taking away an honor and privilege for future players.
"I don't want this to happen on my watch," he said.
Rudolph said the players' natural competitiveness will help make the game entertaining.
"It's a game we want to win, so it'll be fun," Rudolph said.
The game should see plenty of scoring, thanks to limits on blitzing and defensive schemes. Bookmakers in Las Vegas expect a combined 811/2 points scored, with the AFC squad slightly favored. The NFC and AFC have won five Pro Bowls each in the last 10 meetings.
Houston tight end Owen Daniels says fans won't see many big hits.
"You're not going to see people play dirty or giving it up like a playoff game, but that's just the way it is," Daniels said. "I think you've got to accept that and know that we love being out here and I think you've got to know that the people here love having us out here."
Daniels said he's been motivated to return to the Pro Bowl after making his first all-star team in 2009. He said he sees the Pro Bowl as a good consolation for players who would rather be in the Super Bowl.
LIONS: Titus Young has gone on another Twitter rant, and this time, he was talking about being cut.
After a few overnight posts thanking former Lions receivers coach Shawn Jefferson -- with whom he had a public blowup during a November loss to the Green Bay Packers -- and his parents, Young tweeted around 7 a.m. Friday: "Oh I'm not done, if y'all going to cut me let me go. I'm tired of the threats."
Then he tweeted: "Kut."
The troubled receiver was sent home from the Lions three times in a seven-month span and finished last year on injured reserve. The Lions have left the door open for his return but that seems unlikely.
BEARS: Mike Singletary hopes the Bears "got the right guy" in new coach Marc Trestman, and the Hall of Fame linebacker addressed whether his interview for the position was a "token" exercise because of wishes from someone in the McCaskey family.
In his first extended public comments since his interview with the Bears, Singletary told the Tribune that General Manager Phil Emery was the only member of the Bears organization involved in his session that lasted "51/2 to six hours."
49ERS: It's taken less than three months for the nation's football fans to become familiar with Colin Kaepernick, NFL quarterback.
But shortly after he and his San Francisco 49er teammates return from the Super Bowl in New Orleans, another campaign will start, one that will introduce the sporting world to Colin Kaepernick Inc.
Shawn Smith, the public relations and marketing director for X-A-M Sports and also Kaepernick's marketing agent, said she has received at least 50 inquiries in the past three weeks from companies wanting to use Kaepernick and/or his image in their marketing, and those are in addition to the companies with which Smith has been speaking for months.
"I'm not saying those are 50 six-figure offers," she said. "Some are quirky."