Being selected to the Pro Bowl is an honor to which every NFL player aspires. Actually playing in the Pro Bowl? Many NFL players view that as more trouble than it’s worth.
No team better exemplifies that than the 49ers, who had eight players chosen when the NFL first released the list of 2014 Pro Bowlers. But by the time the Pro Bowl is actually played on Sunday, only one of those eight will actually be there.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports that 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks still plans to play in the Pro Bowl, which will be the first of his eight-year career. But the rest of the 49ers’ Pro Bowlers are either injured (linebacker NaVorro Bowman and guard Mike Iupati) or have decided that they’d rather have some time off (tackle Joe Staley, running back Frank Gore, defensive lineman Justin Smith, linebacker Patrick Willis and tight end Vernon Davis).
The NFL is looking for new ways to make the Pro Bowl more interesting for the fans. But for many players, at the end of a long season, the last thing they want to do is put their bodies at risk in a meaningless exhibition game.