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Inaugural Pro Bowl 'draft' to spice up NFL all-star game

By Ferd Lewis

LAST UPDATED: 5:25 p.m. HST, Dec 16, 2013

The trash talking started early for the inaugural Pro Bowl draft, which will air during a three-hour prime-time broadcast from the beach at Ko Olina Jan. 22 on the NFL Network.

In a teleconference today, Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice said, "I can tell Deion (Sanders) is afraid of me."

Rice and Sanders will draft players, regardless of conference, Jan. 21-22 for the game that will be played Jan. 26 at Aloha Stadium and televised on NBC. Sanders was not available for the conference call.

Players selected for the game will be placed on "Team Rice" or "Team Sanders." The deadline for fans to vote on their picks for the Pro Bowl — ballots are available online — is Dec. 26.

The institution of a "draft" comes as the NFL attempts to perk up interest and TV ratings for a game that commissioner Roger Goodell had considered scrapping a year ago after a lackluster performance by players in 2012 and declining TV viewership.  

Rice and Sanders are to be assisted by two active player captains and an fantsay football champion. 

Most of the 88 players selected to appear in Pro Bowl on Dec. 27 are expected to attend the live draft, the NFL said.


Correction: The Pro Bowl draft is Jan. 21-22. An earlier version of this story said it would be in December.

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