HONOLULU – Houston running back Arian Foster says players are going to step up at the Pro Bowl this year, but don’t expect 100 percent effort.
Foster said Friday after practicing with his AFC teammates that it’s unrealistic to expect full effort from the NFL’s top athletes when they’re limited in the plays they’re able to run.
“This isn’t basketball – you can’t go play a pickup game of football,” Foster said.
Foster said if the NFL expects 100 percent effort from its stars and league officials are willing to cancel the game if they don’t see that, then the game will likely be scrapped.
“I think it’s an honor and a tradition, but for you to expect the best athletes in the NFL to come out and play a game 100 percent when you can’t game-plan, you can’t blitz, you can’t do all these things, it’s not going to be competitive like everybody wants it to be,” Foster said.
Effort has emerged as the top theme for this year’s Pro Bowl as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made clear the all-star game won’t be played going forward if it’s second-rate football.
Denver quarterback Peyton Manning said that would be a shame, meaning players have to play better to keep it around.
Manning said the NFL will lose the value of players interacting if the Pro Bowl goes away, which helps to keep the league strong. The true value of the game over the years, he said, is for younger players to have interactions with older veterans, like Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson chatting with former Chargers great LaDainian Tomlinson.
“Don’t tell me there’s not great value in that conversation,” Manning said. “I would argue that’s helping keep the NFL as great as it is. So I’d hate for it to be canceled.”
• Washington offensive tackle Trent Williams won’t play in the Pro Bowl after being hurt in a brawl at a Honolulu nightclub.
Police say one man was arrested and five others investigated for assault, but not Williams. Redskins teammate Jammal Brown said on Twitter that Williams needed seven stitches. Brown said the fight wasn’t Williams’ fault and he did nothing wrong. Minnesota rookie Matt Kalil replaced Williams.