Rookie running back Todd Gurley will play for Team Irvin in Sunday’s Pro Bowl in Honolulu, while his Los Angeles Rams teammates Aaron Donald and Johnny Hekker will play for Team Rice.
The NFL dropped the Pro Bowl’s AFC versus NFC format following the 2013 game, instead having retired players serve as “legends captains” and choose teams.
Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin made Gurley his eighth selection in Wednesday’s draft. Gurley was third in rushing in the NFL in 2015 with 1,106 yards despite missing the first two games of the season and the last.
Donald, a defensive tackle, had been selected Jan. 22 as one of the game’s active player captains.
Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice won a coin toss Tuesday and elected to choose Donald and New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. as active player captains to help determine the rest of the roster.
Donald made 11 quarterback sacks in 2015, tying for eighth in the league.
Hekker was among the 17 players per team chosen Tuesday.
“Call me teriyaki chicken because I belong with Rice,” Hekker tweeted Wednesday after the Tuesday choices were revealed.
Hekker led the NFL in both gross punting average, 47.9 yards, and net punting average, 43.7 yards, in 2015, when the Rams played in St. Louis.
Team Irvin used the first overall choice to select Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Team Irvin’s roster also includes Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman and receiver Julio Jones; quarterbacks Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota Vikings); and Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.
Team Rice made New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning its first choice, second overall. Its other quarterbacks are Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders) and Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo Bills).
Team Rice’s roster also includes running back Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings), receivers Jarvis Landry (Miami Dolphins) and Amari Cooper (Raiders) and defensive end Khalil Mack (Raiders).
Team Irvin will be coached by the Green Bay Packers staff, led by associate head coach Winston Moss. Coach Mike McCarthy will not attend the Pro Bowl because of a stomach illness. He has been advised by doctors not to travel.
Team Rice will be coached by the Kansas City Chiefs staff, led by coach Andy Reid, a graduate of John Marshall High School in Los Feliz who participated in a Punt, Pass and Kick competition at halftime of a “Monday Night Football” game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1971.
—City News Service