FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The 2010 Pro Bowl got more of an official start Tuesday night when the players and coaching staffs of the AFC and NFC teams met at the team hotel for a few introductions and to discuss orders of business for the week.
NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith were among those who congratulated and welcomed the 86 Pro Bowlers, which includes 33 first-time players. Aside from quite a bit of logistical business the players need to know for the week, the most worthy item of note was that the 2010 Pro Bowl at Sun Life Stadium has sold out.
After the meeting, the AFC and NFC teams broke off into two sides to sign footballs, and each player gets to keep a ball with the autographs of all of his Pro Bowl teammates. One couldn’t help but notice some of the wily Pro Bowl veterans — Kevin Mawae, Chad Ochocinco and Ray Lewis on the AFC side, and Donovan McNabb, Steve Hutchinson and Darnell Dockett on the NFC side — position themselves in the first row in order to be the first who would be finished signing. Solid veteran moves.
Following the signings, the teams broke down by position for brief group meetings with their respective coaches. The AFC offensive linemen were the last group to finish; That might be worth remembering later, as Pro Bowl game checks are on the line.
– Frank Tadych