Photo: Between the lines


The AFC team practices on January 26, 2011 in Kapolei, Hawaii. (Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL) photographers are on hand capturing all of the action at the 2011 Pro Bowl. Click on the photo to view the gallery.

Surf’s up with Brandon Lloyd

Broncos WR Brandon Lloyd was kind enough to let join him during his private surf lesson. Check this out.

CJ: Titans wouldn’t succeed with Fisher & Young

It was widely believed in NFL circles that Vince Young and Jeff Fisher couldn’t co-exist on the Tennessee Titans, and it was vindicated when team owner Bud Adams announced his quarterback won’t be back next season.

The saga between coach and player peaked following an overtime loss to the Redskins in November, but outside of Bo Scaife suggesting the locker room was divided over Young, we didn’t hear much from other members of the Titans.

Behind the scenes, Chris Johnson tells NFL Network’s Marshall Faulk the team had difficulty blocking out the distraction caused by the friction between Young and Fisher.

“From our standpoint, we tried to block it out and play football,” Johnson said. “But when you have something like that, it’s the sort of thing you really can’t block out for too long. When it finally hit the fan, it was the sort of thing where Vince went on IR, and he wasn’t in the locker room, and it was just Fisher there. But things were still going on.

“I feel like there were a lot of things that went on this year that hurt our season. I don’t think both of those guys will be able to be on the same team next year. I don’t think (they) could be on the same team and we would have a successful season.”

Part-time work lands Mankins in Hawaii

KAPOLEI, Hawaii — I hate Patriots G Logan Mankins. Just kidding, I have no grounds to, considering I barely met him this week. It’s more like I, and probably most of the players here, envy him.

Think about this for a second: Mankins held out for all of Patriots training camp because of a contract dispute, which spilled over well into the season (November, to be exact). He only played in nine games, and yet here he is at his third Pro Bowl, enjoying paradise with his family.

“Yeah, that was great,” Mankins said on Wednesday with a snicker. “Only had to play half the year; I still feel good.”

Well, now, isn’t that good news.

Peyton Manning definitely took note of this, telling a joke at last night’s players meeting about Mankins only working part-time but still being rewarded with this trip. Seriously, it must be nice to be you, Logan.

“However I got here, thanks to everyone,” Mankins said with a smile.

Go ahead. Rub it in.

For Ferguson, another ‘bittersweet’ Pro Bowl

KAPOLEI, Hawaii — Jets T D’Brickashaw Ferguson says he’s happy to be here. And who wouldn’t be?

But he went through this last year, and if you could hear it in his voice, you’d know that deep down inside he wishes he was back at Jets headquarters in Florham Park, N.J., preparing for next week’s Super Bowl.

Losing to the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, not meeting coach Rex Ryan’s lofty expectations set way back in the summer… it stings.

“Rex came in and said, ‘Hey, we’re here to win the Super Bowl.’ So when we don’t reach that achievement, we feel bad,” Ferguson said after Wednesday’s AFC practice. “It’s good that we had a great season and made it to the AFC title game back-to-back years, but not getting it done still bothers us. This just gives us something to keep fighting for.”

Just missing out on the big game for the second-straight year makes his first trip to Hawaii (last year’s Pro Bowl was in Miami) a little tough to accept. It’s probably that way for Darrelle Revis, too (travel issues have delayed his arrival), although being on the island isn’t a bad consolation prize.

“It’s bittersweet, but I’m happy about what we achieved as a team,” Ferguson said. “And I’m happy to be here. It’s cool, it’s positive. But this just gives the motivation to keep fighting and not just being content with where we’re at. We can just keep working.

“If the next step is the Super Bowl, that’s not too bad. That means we’re right there. We’re knocking on the door.”

I’m sure we’ll hear soon if Ryan believes — or guarantees — his guys will knock it down on the third try.

Anything wrong with this picture?

(Simon Samano / NFL)

While the rest of the team runs drills in the background, the NFC defensive ends take a knee in the end zone.

Autograph time

(Simon Samano / NFL)

A hoard of fans showed up to the AFC’s first practice Wednesday and got the autographs they wanted. For some that included Colts QB Peyton Manning.

Belichick shares a laugh

(Simon Samano / NFL)

Bill Belichick‘s reputation as a curmudgeon with the media precedes him. But here at the Pro Bowl he jokes around with Chris Johnson, Ray Lewis and Reggie Wayne at practice Wednesday.

Suggs’ gun show cancelled

(Simon Samano / NFL)

Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs was moments from doing an interview with Marshall Faulk, and ready to show off his biceps for “his ex.” But then the practice whistle blew, and he dashed away before the interview could began. Why?

“You don’t want to piss Belichick off!” Suggs said.

A funny moment from the sideline.

Marshall Faulk hard at ‘work’

(Simon Samano / NFL)

Nobody is s going to cry Marshall Faulk a river for spending a week in Hawaii on the job, but here he is working hard for NFL Network.

Photo blog: NFL Network ready for practice

Jim Mora and Marshall Faulk get mic'd up, as they await the AFC's arrival at Kapolei High School. Coach is all smiles, of course. (Simon Samano / NFL)

‘Idol’ winner, Goo Goo Dolls to perform at Pro Bowl

The NFL announced on Tuesday the musical performances for Sunday’s Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, and they will feature “American Idol” winner Kris Allen, the Goo Goo Dolls and Hawaiian singer Anuhea.

The Goo Goo Dolls will kick things off during a live pregame performance, and Allen will sing the national anthem. Anuhea, a native of Maui, will perform as part of a Hawaiian-themed halftime show.

The Pro Bowl is back in Hawaii after a one-year hiatus. Last year’s Pro Bowl was played in Miami.

C’mon, kids, get in the water!

Jeff Saturday might be able to bully big ol’ defensive linemen, but getting his kids to join him in the water is a different story. They eventually joined Dad for a little swim.

Players can’t complain this year, can they?

Cowboys TE Jason Witten enjoys quality time with his children in Hawaii during Pro Bowl week. (Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL)

KAPOLEI, Hawaii — You might recall that, last year, players generally were none too pleased with the Pro Bowl being moved to Miami.

But I’m here to tell you, there is no reason — and I mean no reason — for complaining this year.

It’s not that Miami isn’t beautiful in its own right, but it’s just not the same as paradise. And it’s especially not the same when you consider the players’ hotel last year was in Fort Lauderdale (yes, Fort Freakin’ Lauderdale) and shared a strip of public beach with other resorts, nowhere near the action of South Beach.

What was the reward in that, again?

This year, the players’ hotel is gorgeous, and the rooms are lavish — so nice, actually, that The Real Housewives of Orange County couldn’t throw a hissy fit staying here for a week. No “itty bitty” rooms for Vince Young to complain about this year (hilarious video to watch if you don’t remember).

These guys really got hooked up. Infinity pool, private beach, a cove to enjoy with their families. I don’t see a problem with that.

I’ll check in with some players later today to see what they feel like being back in Hawaii.

Fitzgerald tweets free fan trip to Pro Bowl

It was a good night for Mexican for one lucky Arizona couple Monday.

Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald and two fans, Monique and Raoul, who he’s bringing to the Pro Bowl.

When WR Larry Fitzgerald found out that he made his fifth Pro Bowl as a replacement for Super Bowl-bound Packer Greg Jennings, he decided to throw some love out there to Cardinals fans who suffered through the 5-11 season by tweeting that he would take two loyalists with him to Aloha Stadium.

“I’ll be in Scottsdale from 5-6pm & u must have a cardinals jersey on to win. Two winners will get flight, hotel and game tickets paid for!” Fitzgerald tweeted yesterday afternoon.

Two hours later he revealed his location to be the Sandbar Mexican restaurant on a road named Gold Dust (natch), with the missive to “Please drive safe!” (double natch).

A mere nine minutes later, Fitzgerald let his followers know that the couple to the right, Monique and Raoul, were the first to show up at Sandbar.

The wideout then stayed around to take pictures with other fans who had peeled into the parking lot too late, and afterward tweeted that Raoul is a cancer survivor who beat the disease at this time last year.

Albeit a class move, it’s not as if Fitzgerald, 27, will be digging too deep to be able to afford the trip for the couple. The former third overall pick is currently negotiating his third big contract while still in his 20s. He first signed a six-year, $45 million rookie contract that was extended to four-years, $40 million in 2007 – which translates to Mai Tais all around in Hawaii for Raoul and Monique.

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