2013 Pro Bowl: 4 MVP’s and LVP’s

The exhibition of all exhibitions (Kirby Lee/USA Today)

It’s a challenge to find better television entertainment than the Pro Bowl (excluding Cinemax After Dark obviously).  The NFC stomped the AFC 62-35, avenging their loss the year before.  There were rumors Roger Goodell would cancel the NFL All-Star game if effort was weak, but the players delivered.  Here are the most and least valuable performers from each quarter:

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An NFL Veteran’s Perspective: Q&A With Super Bowl XXXV Champion Clarence Love

Love was selected in the 4th round of the 1998 NFL draft (NFL.com)

You are more likely to contract Diabetes than play in a Super Bowl, let alone an NFL snap.  Former Eagle, Raven and Raider cornerback Clarence Love participated in two Super Bowls, winning with Baltimore (2001) and losing with Oakland (2003).  The veteran excelled in dime packages and special teams units.  Love was kind enough to share his experiences and opinions:

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No Excuses For Chris Cook in 2013

Cook has seen better days (Pioneer Press)

Make the most out of second opportunities.  O.J. Simpson did not, but Chris Cook should.  The injured Minnesota Vikings cornerback misses football too much to make another dim-witted blunder.  It was August 24, 2011 when Cook sat in jail wondering if his NFL career slipped through his fingers.  The justice system gave him new life, so now it’s time to fulfill his potential.

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Amidst “Legatron” Hype, Bryan Anger Blasts On

Anger headlines the Generation Y of punters (Getty Images)

Rarely is an “Employee of the Month” recipient the most deserving.  Through week 7 in the regular season, St. Louis Rams placekicker Greg Zuerlein (aka Legatron) has earned NFL Rookie of the Year consideration for his heart-stopping field goal range, but another special teams newcomer is excelling under the national radar.  Jacksonville Jaguars punter Bryan Anger has set his eyes on a multiple-decade NFL career, and his longevity will be fueled by Pele-esque genetics.

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Switching to Corner is Merely Michael Huff’s Latest Challenge

Huff imagines himself at cornerback (NFL.com)

Versatility is a major boon in the workforce.  Look at Tim Tebow, who plays fullback and punt coverage, which earns his NFL salary.  As for Oakland Raiders free safety Michael Huff, he is accustomed to shifting positions around the secondary.  Due to injuries to the team’s starting corners, Huff made an emergency start at right cornerback on Sunday.  We’ll see this for a while because the NFL veteran should emerge as the best cover corner in the Silver and Black.

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Inside the Helmet: Brandon Weeden’s NFL Nightmare

Weeden has nowhere to go but up (Mark Duncan/Associated Press)

Brandon Weeden is the most powerful man in Cleveland.  Few quarterbacks can spur an entire town to openly weep in a three hour span.  Weeden triggered the event with an apocalyptic week one performance that made Tim Couch cringe: 12 completions in 35 attempts, 118 yards, 4 interceptions, 2 fumbles and a 5.1 quarterback rating.  It was the worst opening start for an NFL rookie since 1960.

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Let’s Celebrate Kyle Boller, and Nine Years of NFL Letdowns

Boller is finished (Nick Laham/Getty Images)

The most disappointing moment in my life occurred November 9, 2011.  I had spent three days pouring my soul into an intimate love letter, only to discover that a 20 year old reincarnation of Aphrodite was in fact a lesbian.  I have also admired photogenic quarterback Kyle Boller from afar, and while I’ve learned a lesson about judging a book by its cover, the sum of his NFL career has been similarly dismaying.   The Southern California native retired on July 29, a day after signing with the San Diego Chargers, closing the chapter on an underwhelming tale of three-and-outs and untimely injuries.   I once believed in Boller, but like many attractive individuals, he was merely a tease.

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How ACL Tears Hamper NFL Running Backs

Carter’s career ended before it began (Associated Press)

Athletes who suffer severe knee injuries tend to contemplate suicide.  After all, a damaged joint could equate into millions of dollars in lost income.  Along with the financial pain, tearing an anterior cruciate ligament (or two) can hinder an individual’s agility, balance and explosiveness.  For running backs, years may pass before an NFL workhorse can replicate his performances previous to an ACL problem.

This season, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Rashard Mendenhall are notable backs returning from ACL tears, and they hope to remain effective as before.  We should look to history to sense the size of the mountain these ball carriers must climb to mount their comebacks.

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Ten NFL Free Agents in the Walmart Bargain Bin (2012)

Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens are looking for work (Bennett Raglin/WireImage)

I blame President Obama for failing to create enough jobs in the NFL. With training camp on the horizon, many former starters find themselves out of work. Why are these players no longer in demand? Fault injuries, age discrimination, bloated salaries and toxic attitudes. Athletes can’t stay in their prime forever. What these guys really need is a hug.

Here is a list of the ten best remaining NFL free agents. In the right environment, these players have a reasonable chance to reclaim their past glory. But they come with question marks.

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Tarvaris Jackson Stopped Making Excuses a Long Time Ago

Jackson and Pete Carroll in mini-camp (Associated Press)

Life isn’t fair for underprivileged children, but wishing for new parents is a useless exercise. For Tarvaris Jackson, his NFL career has been the epitome of irresponsible team management. Yanked in and out of the starting lineup, the quarterback could never establish a rhythm and build momentum during a disappointing five-year Vikings career. After signing with the Seattle Seahawks, Jackson displayed marginal improvement, but again finds his role in jeopardy. While Jackson will tell you that external support is welcome, he understands that his own work can save his job.

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