KAPOLEI, Hawaii Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will line up opposite his head coach and offensive coordinator in his second Pro Bowl appearance.
Deion Sanders, the alumni captain for the Indianapolis Colts-coached team, took Newton with the third pick during the second night of the Pro Bowl draft on Wednesday one pick after Sanders took Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
Luck told reporters he hopes he and Newton get on the field at the same time.
Who knows? Newton said. Stay tuned.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera and his staff are teamed with Jerry Rices squad.
Newton seemed to be enjoying himself Wednesday, joking with Sanders during the NFL Network broadcast. Newton brushed off questions about his Pro Bowl experience two years ago.
According to a cbssports.com article quoting anonymous players, Newton angered several players with a standoffish attitude in the 2012 Pro Bowl, prompting them to play with more intensity when Newton entered the game.
That trip two years ago, were going to keep it at two years ago. Nothing good can come from me talking on somethings that old, Newton said. This is 2014. Im going to enjoy myself, have a good time and do what I think I do best, which is play football.
The NFL made several changes, highlighted by the draft, after the Pro Bowl came under criticism for its quality of play and perceived lack of effort from players.
Newton said its hard to straddle the line between having a competitive game and minimizing injury risks for players.
Its a physical sport. And its hard to simulate something when youre trying to protect a persons career. Youre trying to chop a guy or youre trying to tackle a guy low, horse-collaring a guy, Newton said. You dont want anyone to leave Hawaii injured, that they have to sit out next year. Youve got to play smart, have fun. But at the end of the day ... youve got to be competitive as well.
Dont kick it out: Not surprisingly, Panthers special teams coordinator Richard Rodgers and long snapper J.J. Jansen are opposed to NFL commissioner Roger Goodells suggestion to do away with the extra point.
Proponents of the potential rule change believe kickers an increasingly specialized position have made the point-after automatic, and Goodell told the NFL Network the leagues competition committee this offseason will consider abolishing it.
Goodell said one proposal is to make touchdowns worth seven points. Teams could go for an eighth point with a running or passing play, and would have six points if the try was unsuccessful.
There were only four missed extra points all blocked kicks in 1,191 tries during the regular season.
Obviously, the fans and most people think its automatic. Its not, Rodgers said. Youve got to have great operation time between your holder, your snapper and your kicker. Not having that in a game takes a significant part of the game away.
Jansen said the specialization argument doesnt hold water.
Every part of the game has become specialized. Quarterbacks are extremely efficient at what they do. Running backs, were here with some of the best corners in the league Revis Island. They become specialized with what we do. We dont talk about getting that out of the game, Jansen said.
Just because guys have gotten really good at doing it doesnt make a whole lot of sense (to remove it). ... All these Pro Bowl (quarterbacks) having fantastic years, we dont talk about Lets take the pass out of the game. In fact, its more exciting.
Hawaiian vacation, part deux: Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert has been to Hawaii once before, although this week figures to be more fun. Tolbert and his wife Shianette were in Maui for their honeymoon three years ago when an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, creating high winds and surf in Hawaii.
Tolbert and his wife were staying in a resort in the hills, so they didnt need to evacuate the property like guests in beachside hotels. But it was still a less-than-ideal honeymoon.
We went to the beach the first day. Then the second day the earthquake happened. So we couldnt really do too much after that, Tolbert said. Just chilling together, watching TV and calming our parents down.
Tolbert, who led the Panthers with seven touchdowns rushing and receiving, said he plans to enjoy his second trip to Hawaii.
Im loving it, taking it all in, soaking it all up. I was supposed to be (in the Pro Bowl) before, but things didnt work out my way, said Tolbert, who was among the leaders in fan balloting last year but didnt make the all-star game. I feel like now Im going to enjoy it all after working my tail off to get back to this point.
Taking sides: Rivera ended up with three Panthers' players on his team -- Tolbert, center Ryan Kalil and left tackle Jordan Gross. The remaining four Carolina players -- Newton, middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, defensive end Greg Hardy and Jansen -- will play for Colts coach Chuck Pagano.
Pro Bowl practices begin Thursday.
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