Pro Bowlers happy game is back in Hawaii

Michael Vick
Michael Vick
Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis
Mat McBriar
Mat McBriar

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The NFL Pro Bowl is back in town. The game, set for this Sunday, will hit the Aloha Stadium turf for the 31st time overall. But this will be the first time the game is played in Hawaii before Super Sunday.

That means no Steelers and no Packers are taking part. But for the rest of the NFL All-Stars, they hit the practice field for the first time Wednesday.

Rarely have so many millionaires been on the Kapolei High School field all at once.

The AFC practiced first at 9:30 a.m., followed by the NFC at 10:30 a.m. The practices were closed to the public. However, about a hundred diehards braved security for an autograph.

A few players obliged. One of them, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, said he's happy the Pro Bowl is back in Halawa after a one year stop in Miami.

"Hey, it's great to be back here," Manning said. "Can't beat the weather, the people are great and I know all the players are happy that its back here."

"What do you look forward to most when you come to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl?" Hawaii News Now asked Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.

"Honestly, I just think the brotherhood you know, because the same guys you go to war with is the same guys you then come over here and you relax with and have a good time," Lewis said. "You just sit back and enjoy each other."

"It feels good man, the weather's great," said Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson. "The guys are enjoying themselves and the fans are enjoying it. I think the big part of it is for the fans. These guys out here, the fans, they do a great job of hosting this and it makes guys look forward to coming back."

This year's Pro Bowl has one guy with Hawaii ties. That would be Dallas punter Mat McBriar, who graduated from the University of Hawaii in 2003 and played under coach June Jones.

He too, was stoked that the Pro Bowl is back in his college ballpark. McBriar averaged an NFL-high 47.9 yards per punt for the Cowboys this season.

This will be his second pro bowl appearance.

"You know the first time, I probably took it for granted a bit," he said. "I mean it was great coming back, but maybe I thought I was going to come back, maybe not every year, but every other year. It's been a little while. I did get married here three years ago and that was fantastic. That was the last trip to the islands. It's great being back. I've already caught up with some teammates from UH and just love it."

The Pro Bowl hits the turf this Sunday at Aloha Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. Hawaii time. Tickets are still available.

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