As is commonplace every year, the Pro Bowl 2018 rosters underwent some change after the AFC and NFC Championship Games due to the participation of the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl. Although changes were made en masse on Monday, the Pro Bowl rosters have been in flux since they were announced due to injuries to key players.
In addition to all of the roster turnover, a bit of significant news has trickled out of Orlando, Florida, as preparations continue for the game at Camping World Stadium.
Date: Sunday, January 28
Time: 3 p.m. ET
A number of players were taken off the Pro Bowl rosters this week due to injuries.
Dallas Cowboys offensive line pair Zack Martin and Tyron Smith were ruled out on Tuesday, per Rob Phillips of the team’s official website.
Martin had a recent procedure to clean up his elbow, while Smith vacated his spot on the roster due to a knee injury.
Smith was replaced by Joe Staley of the San Francisco 49ers, while Carolina Panthers guard Trai Turner took Martin’s spot.
A pair of Minnesota Vikings defenders opted out of the Pro Bowl on Monday following their defeat in the NFC Championship Game to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Defensive end Everson Griffen and linebacker Anthony Barr withdrew due to injuries, per ESPN’s Courtney Cronin.
Griffen’s spot on the NFC roster was taken by Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks, and Carolina’s Thomas Davis replaced Barr.
Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham pulled out of the game earlier this week. He was on the injury report for parts of the season and might not want to risk anything ahead of free agency, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times noted.
Condotta also informed us that Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner was removed from the NFC roster with a hamstring injury.
The AFC roster was already hit hard by injuries before this week, as wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green, tight end Travis Kelce and defensive end Khalil Mack opted out of the game.
Although the AFC didn’t experience a ton of changes caused by injury this week, the losses of the players mentioned above as well as linebacker Jadeveon Clowney and defensive end Calais Campbell are massive blows to the squad coached by the Pittsburgh Steelers staff.
Pro Bowl News
Incognito Reaches out to Ngakoue
Just two weeks ago, Jacksonville defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and Buffalo offensive lineman Richie Incognito were rivals on the gridiron in the AFC wild-card round.
After the game, Ngakoue said Incognito made racial slurs in his direction, but it appears the two players have cleared up the issue.
Ngakoue was named a replacement for Campbell earlier this week, and Incognito told Peter King of the MMQB the pair had “shook hands and hugged it out.” “I saw him in the locker room, went up to him, said, ‘Good to finally meet you,’ I apologized for my part in this, and I said I hope we can get a drink here and I can get to know you better,” Incognito said. “He was cool.” ESPN’s Michael DiRocco talked to Ngakoue, who said he is looking to move past the issue after talking with Incognito.
Payton, Brees Confirm Future Plans
Drew Brees isn’t going anywhere, even if his contract with the New Orleans Saints is up.
The longtime Saints quarterback said on Thursday that he will be playing in New Orleans next season, per Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis expressed the same level of confidence to Underhill.
“He doesn’t have a contract, which has happened before,” Loomis said. “We want him to be our quarterback, and we’ll get going on that at some point. … I’m not anticipating any big issues.”
Jane Slater of NFL Network then talked to Saints head coach Sean Payton, who said the team will get a deal done with the 39-year-old signal-caller.
Brees has been with the Saints since 2006, and in his time with the franchise he’s won a Super Bowl MVP award and twice been named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year.