NFL Notes: Pro Bowl switches to draft format

NFL Notes: Pro Bowl switches to draft format
July 31, 2013, 4:00 pm
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Roger Goodell has implemented a fantasy draft format for the Pro Bowl. (USA Today Images)

The NFL has eliminated the traditional AFC vs. NFC Pro Bowl matchup, which had been in place since 1971, and replaced it with a fantasy draft format in which teams will be selected by the “draft captains.”

Players will initially be selected in a vote by fans, coaches and players. The teams then will be selected in the Pro Bowl Draft (which naturally will have its own show, Jan. 22 on the NFL Network) by the joint effort of six captains: the two leading vote getters, two NFL.com fantasy football champions, and alumni captains Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice.

The transition to the new format was spearheaded by NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth - yes, he of the 2005 interception.

“As players, we wanted to keep the Pro Bowl to honor excellence in individual performance and connect with the fans in a different environment,” Foxworth said via a league press release, which details all the changes. “To do that, I worked with a group of players to map out new ideas.”

Some of the rule changes include the addition of two-minute warnings in the first and third quarters and the elimination of kickoffs.

The Pro Bowl will be held on Jan. 26, 2014, in Honolulu, a week before Super Bowl XLVIII is held at the Meadowlands.

Broncos: Rodgers-Cromartie leaves field with ankle injury
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was helped off the field after hurting his left ankle in a drill Wednesday at training camp.

Asked his level of concern over the injury after practice, coach John Fox said, "Not overly. But anytime they miss time, I'm concerned." Guard Justin Boren also was taken off with a big toe injury.

The Broncos have already had quite a few injuries so far in camp. Center Dan Koppen was lost for the season with a knee injury last weekend and first-round pick Sylvester Williams left the field on Monday with a left knee ailment. Williams was on the field Wednesday, but didn't participate in any drills.

Tight end Jacob Tamme (right quad) also sat out practice.

- The Associated Press

Seahawks: Harvin to undergo hip surgery
RENTON, Wash. - Percy Harvin will have hip surgery on Thursday, sidelining the dynamic wide receiver for the start of his first season with the Seattle Seahawks.

Harvin made the announcement on his Twitter account on Tuesday night, hours after getting a second opinion on the injury in New York. The Seahawks then said the operation was scheduled for Thursday, but no timetable for recovery was provided.

Harvin was seeking more information about the hip soreness in the area of his labrum that popped up just before the Seahawks opened training camp. Harvin noted the discomfort when he reported for camp last Wednesday.

"When everything is goin good sometimes life throw u a curve ball... sorry to half to report that my injury will require surgery," Harvin wrote on his Twitter page. "Nobody was more anxious and excited about season then....but I will be back strong as ever."

Seattle coach Pete Carroll has not indicated which hip is bothering Harvin. He said earlier in the day that the team was still gathering information about Harvin's second opinion (see full story).

-The Associated Press

Bills: No timetable for injured Mario Williams
PITTSFORD, N.Y. - Mario Williams requires rest and treatment to allow his sore left foot time to heal, Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone says after the defensive end 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 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.

Williams said he felt "fine," and doesn't regard the injury to be "that serious." He referred most questions to Marrone, citing team policy that requires the coach to discuss injuries.

Williams spent Wednesday working out on his own on the sideline. He first complained of the sore foot before the team's first practice Sunday.

-The Associated Press

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