Darrell Thompson, ex-Packers first-round pick, supports Pro Bowl change: 'Can’t play football half-a--ed'
Oct 07, 2022
Darrell Thompson walks the red carpet at the Starkey Hearing Foundation So The World May Hear Gala at the RiverCentre on July 20, 2014, in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Adam Bettcher/Getty Images for Starkey Hearing Foundation)
By Ryan Gaydos
Former Green Bay Packers running back Darrell Thompson supported the NFL’s decision to switch up the Pro Bowl festivities when it returns to Las Vegas in February.
The NFL announced earlier in the week the Pro Bowl will no longer feature a contact game, instead being replaced by a series of competitions during the week that end with a flag-football contest. The event was being rebranded as the Pro Bowl Games.
Thompson, a former first-round draft pick out of Minnesota, told Fox News Digital in a recent interview he thought the change made sense.
"I think it’s smart. Football is so much of a different (sport). I was talking to a friend of mine who broadcasts for professional basketball. He was mentioning it right when it came across the wire and I said, ‘You really can’t play football half-a--ed,’" said Thompson, who is now a member of the Pro Football Retired Players Association board.
"You can play basketball full speed, All-Star Game. You can do full speed, obviously baseball, hockey to an extent. But you just can’t do it in football like that. There needs to be a little bit of aggression that’s hard to generate when the game means nothing. You don’t really have the time to practice. It’s a different beast. You don’t play pickup tackle football. It just doesn’t work.
"That’s what the Pro Bowl’s been and you really don’t want to sail through someone or get injured in a game that… it has meaning, but it doesn’t have meaning, as far as like your whole entire career. Obviously you get paid to play in the game and it’s an honor to be selected as a Pro Bowl player. I think it’s a wise thing, it’s a safe thing. Hopefully, they can make it interesting and I think you can."
Over the last few years, the Pro Bowl had turned into an event for fun rather than conference supremacy. At one point, the NFL even ditched the conference matchups altogether, opting for a fantasy draft to determine the teams.
The new iteration of the event will take place in Las Vegas in February with the flag football game taking place at Allegiant Stadium on Feb. 5.
"The Pro Bowl is something that we’ve been looking at for a while, really continuing to evolve," NFL executive Peter O’Reilly told The Associated Press on Monday. "Coming out of last year’s game, we really made the decision based on a lot of internal conversations, getting feedback from GMs and coaches, getting a lot of feedback from players. We think there’s a real opportunity to do something wholly different here and move away from the traditional tackle football game. We decided the goal is to celebrate 88 of the biggest stars in the NFL in a really positive, fun, yet competitive way.
"The feedback very directly from guys who had been in the Pro Bowl recently was to keep the construct of the week, make sure you’re having that multi-day element. It was overwhelmingly positive both from players as well as from clubs."
Read the original article on Fox News Digital.