NFL notes: Draft will determine Pro Bowl rosters
New York • The NFL Pro Bowl rosters for next year will be selected in a draft by team captains, with Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice assisting as alumni captains.
The NFL will abandon the AFC vs. NFC format that has been in place since 1971.
The league says Wednesday that fan voting will determine the players in the draft pool. The draft will be televised by the NFL Network on Jan. 22. The game will be played Jan. 26 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
Other changes are coming to the game, too.
The ball will change hands at the end of each quarter, which could double the opportunities for two-minute drills. Kickoffs (and return specialists) will be eliminated teams will start on their own 25-yard line. Defenses will be allowed to play cover-2 and press coverage in addition to man, and several clock tweaks have been instituted to speed up the game and prompt offensive play.
Recovery time for head injuries increases
An analysis of NFL injury data shows that players with concussions missed an average of 16 days last season, up from only four days in 2005.
The study by Edgeworth Economics, based on information collected by the league, shows that the average time out for other types of injuries has been more steady.
Severe injuries causing a player to miss at least eight days increased every season from 2009-12.
Jesse David, the economist overseeing the study, says Wednesday "you now have more severe injuries overall" because of the hike in reported concussions. He says longer absences for concussions could be because head injuries are more damaging or because players simply are being held out longer.
The NFL says it will look at the study.
Eagles' Cooper apologizes for slur
Saying he was "ashamed and disgusted" with himself, Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper apologized repeatedly for making a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert that was caught on video and led to him getting fined.
The video of Cooper using the N-word surfaced Wednesday on the Internet. Cooper issued a statement of apology then met with reporters outside the team's practice facility.
"This is the lowest of lows," Cooper said. "This is not the type of person I want to be portrayed as. This isn't the type of person I am. I'm extremely sorry."
Cooper said he was drinking when he directed the slur at an African-American security guard at the concert in June.
"That's no excuse for what I said. I don't use that term," he said. "I was raised better than that. I have a great mom and dad and they're disgusted with my actions."
Cooper said he was fined a significant amount of money by the Eagles.
Jets' Milliner back on field
New York's Dee Milliner took another step toward competing for a starting job.
The first-round draft pick participated in some drills Wednesday as he joined his teammates on the practice field for the first time in training camp. Milliner signed a four-year deal with the Jets on Monday after a brief holdout.
"Man, it was good," Milliner said after practice. "To get back out here on the field, get through the drills, get back out there with the team. It felt good the whole time I was out there, just [doing] what the trainers asked me and just moving on and progressing."