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Pro Bowlers might rely on trickery

January 26, 2014
By OSKAR GARCIA , The Associated Press

HONOLULU - Pro Bowl players practicing one last time Saturday dropped hints they'll be using some trickery today.

On one play, Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack streaked into the end zone at Aloha Stadium, not fast enough to catch a pass targeted his way.

Indianapolis Colts long snapper Matt Overton later busted out a behind-the-back snap - a spiraling line drive caught by St. Louis Rams punter Johnny Hekker about 10 yards away, where a receiver might line up.

Mack said the potential catch wasn't meant for him. He described it as a "last-case scenario" for the team picked by ex-NFL star Deion Sanders.

"It's super top-secret - I can't talk about it," Mack said.

Jerry Rice's team later finished practice by huddling up and shouting, "Get money," a reference to the five-figure pay bonus winners get in the game.

Fact Box


All times HST

Today's Game

Pro Bowl: Team Sanders vs. Team Rice, at Honolulu, 2:30 p.m. (NBC)

Sunday, Feb. 2

Super Bowl: Denver vs. Seattle, at East Rutherford, N.J., 1:30 p.m. (FOX)

"The worst pressure I'm getting is from the other team: 'Hey, let's take it easy on each other,' " Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake told fans. "But they got another thing coming."

Ray Anderson, the NFL's outgoing executive vice president of football operations, said he hopes that up-tempo practices, talk and encouragement from Sanders, Rice and coaches will lead to a better game.

"Certainly there's some competitive talking going back and forth," Anderson said.

Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles offered to line up at wide receiver when he was selected to the Pro Bowl. On Saturday, quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints ran one play that looked a lot like an option, pitching the ball to the Dallas Cowboys' DeMarco Murray. On another play, the Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald ran the ball on a sweep along the right side.

"Anytime you play for probably the greatest player to ever put on cleats, it's a good thing," said Fitzgerald, who was assigned to Rice's team after the other seven receivers were picked beforehand.

Anderson said he thinks the game will be improved in part because players suggested the change that models the game partly after fantasy football.

"There's always a certain amount of pride that comes along with being a captain and also picking sides. You want to win," said Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, a captain for Sanders' team who lined up at receiver in last year's game.

Watt said after signing autographs and taking selfie photographs with kids in the crowd that picking the teams was fun, but also serious.

"We didn't get here by not being competitive so we're always trying to win everything we do," Watt said.



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