HONOLULU — Pro Bowlers practicing one last time Saturday before the schoolyard pickup all-star game dropped hints they’ll use some trickery to get an edge on Sunday.
On one play, Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack streaked into the end zone at Aloha Stadium, not fast enough to catch a pass targeted his way.
Indianapolis long-snapper Matt Overton later busted out a behind-the-back snap — a spiraling line drive caught by St. Louis punter Johnny Hekker about 10 yards away, where a slot receiver might line up.
Mack says the potential catch wasn’t meant for him. He describes it as a “last case scenario” for the team picked by NFL great Deion Sanders.
“It’s super top-secret — I can’t talk about it,” Mack said.
Jerry Rice’s team later finished practice by huddling up and shouting “Get money,” a reference to the five-figure pay bonus winners get in the game.
“The worst pressure I’m getting is from the other team: ‘Hey, let’s take it easy on each other,’” Miami defensive end Cameron Wake told fans. “But they got another thing coming.”
Ray Anderson, the NFL’s outgoing executive vice president of football operations, said he hopes that up-tempo practices, talk and encouragement from Sanders, Rice and coaches will lead to a better game Sunday.
“Certainly there’s some competitive talking going back and forth,” he said.
Kansas City Jamaal Charles offered to line up at wide receiver when he was selected to the Pro Bowl. On Saturday, Drew Brees ran one play that looked a lot like an option, pitching the ball to Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray. On another play, Larry Fitzgerald ran the ball on a sweep along the right side.
“Anytime you play for the probably the greatest player to ever put on cleats, it’s a good thing,” said Fitzgerald, who was assigned to Rice’s team after the other seven receivers were picked beforehand.
Anderson said he thinks the game will be improved in part because players suggested the change that models the game partly after fantasy football.
“There’s always a certain amount of pride that comes along with being a captain and also picking sides. You want to win,” said Houston defensive end J.J. Watt, a captain for Sanders’ team who lined up as a wide receiver in last year’s all-star game.
Watt said after signing dozens of autographs and taking selfie photographs with kids in the crowd that picking the teams was fun, but also serious.
“We didn’t get here by not being competitive so we’re always trying to win everything we do,” Watt said.
NFL Pro Bowl
John Abraham, Arizona Cardinals, OLB
Justin Bethel, Arizona Cardinals, ST
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, QB
Vontaze Burfict, Cincinnati Bengals, ILB
Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills, FS
Antonio Cromartie, New York Jets, CB
Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills, DT
Jahri Evans, New Orleans Saints, G
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals, WR
Brandon Flowers, Kansas City Chiefs, CB
Matt Forté, Chicago Bears, RB
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons, TE
Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns, WR
Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots, K
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints, TE
Jordan Gross, Carolina Panthers, T
Ben Grubbs, New Orleans Saints, G
Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns, CB
Jason Hatcher, Dallas Cowboys, DT
Johnny Hekker, St. Louis Rams, P
Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs, OLB
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears, WR
Derrick Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs, ILB
Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints, DE
Ryan Kalil, Carolina Panthers, C
Nick Mangold, New York Jets, C
Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears, WR
Evan Mathis, Philadelphia Eagles, G
Robert Mathis, Indianapolis Colts, OLB
Dexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs, PR
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles, RB
DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys, RB
Matt Overton, Indianapolis Colts, LS
Robert Quinn, St. Louis Rams, DE
Eric Reid, San Francisco 49ers, FS
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers, QB
Antrel Rolle, New York Giants, SS
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs, QB
Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys, T
Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns, T
Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers, FB
Alterraun Verner, Tennessee Titans, CB
Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins, DE
Kyle Williams, Buffalo Bills, DT
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, QB
Brandon Fields, Miami Dolphins, P
Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles, QB
Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens, K
DeSean Jackson , Philadelphia Eagles, WR
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts, QB
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals, WR
Matthew Slater, New England Patriots, ST
Brent Grimes, Miami Dolphins, CB
Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals, CB
Darrelle Revis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, CB
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs, RB
Tim Jennings, Chicago Bears, CB
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers, RB
Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs, SS
Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers, FS
T.J. Ward, Cleveland Browns, SS
J.J. Jansen, Carolina Panthers, LS
Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders, FB
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins, RB
Paul Posluszny, Jacksonville Jaguars, ILB
Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns, C
Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens, OLB
Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers, ILB
Mike Pouncey, Miami Dolphins, C
Logan Mankins, New England Patriots, G
Trent Williams, Washington Redskins , T
Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens, G
Kyle Long, Chicago Bears, G
Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs, T
Duane Brown, Houston Texans, T
Greg Hardy, Carolina Panthers, DE
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys, TE
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers, WR
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns, TE
Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings, PR
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, WR
Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions, DT
Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs, OLB
Dontari Poe, Kansas City Chiefs, DT
Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DT
Mario Williams, Buffalo Bills, DE
Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins, OLB
J.J. Watt, Houston Texans, DE