The Herald Bulletin

January 22, 2014

Luck, Mathis on opposite sides for Pro Bowl

By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Andrew Luck was the No. 1 pick all over again Wednesday night.

The Indianapolis Colts quarterback was the first player selected on Day 2 of the 2014 Pro Bowl draft, joining head coach Chuck Pagano and his staff on Team Sanders. Indianapolis outside linebacker Robert Mathis also was drafted by alumni captain Deion Sanders later in the evening, leaving long snapper Matt Overton as the only Colts representative playing for alumni captain Jerry Rice's squad.

Or so everyone believed. At the conclusion of the draft, Mathis was involved in the mandatory trade. Rice nabbed him from Sanders' roster, sending Washington Redskins' outside linebacker Brian Orakpo in return.

Mathis took to Twitter earlier in the night to express his faith that the new format adopted for this year's game is working. The league's sack champion this season was the first player at his position selected in the draft designed to add a fantasy football feel to the NFL's annual all-star game.

This will be the first Pro Bowl in which players are not divided into rosters based on their conference affiliation.

"I think this plan worked because some feelings are hurt & egos bruised and it's going down Sunday!!!," Mathis wrote.

The new format has created some interesting scenarios. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and inside linebacker Luke Kuechly were drafted by Sanders, meaning they will play against head coach Ron Rivera and the Panthers' staff who are leading Team Rice.

Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack also is a member of Team Sanders. He is scheduled to become a free agent March 11 and is projected to be the best available player at the position on the market. The Colts, who had serious struggles on the interior of their offensive line this season, will get an up-close look to evaluate Mack for the remainder of the week.

The Pro Bowl will be televised by NBC at 7:30 p.m. Sunday from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.