Players keen on winning share of Pro Bowl stakes

HONOLULU — While the Pro Bowl is all about having a good time and putting on a good show, don’t think for a second that taking home the winner’s share (approximately $50,000 for the winning team and $25,000 for the losers, according to the players) isn’t on everyone’s mind.

Heck, Tony Gonzalez closed Wednesday’s practice with this platitude: “We don’t want to lose money, Let’s win, on three …”

To that end, most players aren’t shy about wanting to get that extra $25,000 Sunday afternoon.

“I think guys, for the first few quarters, they come out and have a good time,” Chargers TE Antonio Gates said Saturday. “But when the fourth quarter arrives, people start thinking ‘Wow, I’ve been here for a week and I’ve spent this and all the incidentals.’ So another $50,000 seems a lot better than $25,000.”

Vikings LB Chad Greenway didn’t argue with that.

“Its huge,” he said. “Obviously you come out here to win for your conference, but winning that bonus money is pretty nice.”

That money goes even further for younger players like Saints TE Jimmy Graham.

“The extra $25,000 wouldn’t hurt, especially for a young talent like myself,” Graham said. “I don’t get paid like the rest of these guys do.”

Like Gates, Packers WR Greg Jennings says it all comes down to the fourth quarter.

“First three quarters keep it fun, but when the fourth quarter comes, that’s when it all factors in,” Jennings said. “You’ve got to keep it close, but we’re not worried about keeping it close. We’ll take care of that.”

Jennings clearly wasn’t watching last year’s Pro Bowl, in which the NFC led 42-0 in the second quarter (to be fair he was probably preparing for the Super Bowl). But facing the like of Steelers LB James Harrison, Jennings appears far more concerned with staying safe during what could be an intense fourth quarter.

“He’s been forewarned already,” Jennings said of Harrison. “Don’t touch me. Do not touch me.”

— Aron Angel

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