Rookies Added to the Pro Bowl while Honey Bear Shows Up at the Senior Bowl
After the teams had been determined for this year’s Super Bowl, changes to the Pro Bowl roster continued on Monday and this included the additions of rookie quarterbacks Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson and Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck.
Wilson had already been voted as a third NFC alternate.
For college players not yet in the league, Monday kicked off practices for the Senior Bowl. While 25 percent of the roster chose to not participate this year, there’s no shortage of stories and one that made headlines already is former LSU star Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu.
Wilson and Luck Headed to Hawaii
On Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan sprained his left shoulder and withdrew from this year’s Pro Bowl.
The quarterback had a stellar freshman season, throwing for 3,118 yards and tying the NFL rookie regular season record with his 26 passing touchdowns. Perhaps his most impressive game was the one against the Falcons in the NFC division game. Amid the 30-28 loss, Wilson still passed for 385 yards with two scores.
He will be joined by five teammates including offensive linemen Max Unger and Russell Okung, running back Marshawn Lynch, safety Earl Thomas and kick returner Leon Washington.
Barring his injury, rookie quarterback Washington Redskins Griffin III had been slated to attend but is out with his knee injury. He is expected to return for the 2013 season with the bettors say no (-200) that he’ll return for a Game 1 start.
As for Luck, he joined the AFC Pro Bowl roster as a replacement for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady who has an undisclosed injury.
In his first season, No. 1 draft pick Luck led his team to a 11-5 regular-season record, followed by a wild-card berth. The quarterback set a number of rookie records including most passing yards (4,374), most attempts (627) and the greatest number of 300-yard passing games (six).
He was just shy of additional completion and touchdown records and with his 11-game win season, it represented the most by a No. 1 pick and tied a league record with his fourth quarter seven game-winning drives.
Luck will attend the game with his teammates wide receiver Reggie Wayne and linebacker Robert Mathis. His predecessor Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will also be there, along with Matt Schaub of the Houston Texans.
Return of Honey Badger
Lost in the Super Bowl news and coaching changes is the move to the NFL’s next generation. On Monday, practices began for the Jan. 26 Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL.
For college players, this provides seniors and NFL prospects an opportunity to showcase their talents and meet with NFL teams prior to the draft.
After Day 1, grabbing headlines was Matheiu. While he not participating in practice, he was a spectator and has hopes of restoring his image.
Once a Heisman contender, the player sat out of the 2012 season after failing a drug test at LSU; he was dismissed by the team in August. He soon entered rehab,which didn’t seem to have much impact, as he was arrested in October for marijuana at his apartment with other former LSU players.
The cornerback has been training for the NFL combine in Florida and has said he knows he’ll be heavily scrutinized as he prepares for the draft.
He said via the AP, “This is my last shot. You’ve got to learn when to do things and when not to do things, when to party and when not to party. Every day is football. That’s the biggest thing I got out of it. I’m just ready to live a football life.”
After a year of rookie quarterbacks, this year’s draft won’t have the same talent but a record-breaking number of underclassmen.
On a few lists, Utah’s defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is headed to the Kansas City Chiefs as the top pick.