The annual NFL Pro Bowl will be played tonight in Arizona, as several of the NFL's best gather together for the all-star game. For Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, he will be playing in his third Pro Bowl in his three years in the league, and he has been the top overall pick in both of the years the format has been the "fantasy draft" style. He is a starter for Team Carter and one of the biggest stars in the game. But he almost skipped it.
"It was hard," Luck told the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder. "But once you get out here and you get around the guys and some of your teammates, it feels better. But the morning after the (loss), you get a phone call and they need your decision and they want to make sure you're not hurt, can you play and all that. I'm sitting there like ... (sighs). I mean, it is a privilege, but I am hurting in a sense. But I realize it's an honor to be voted in and the fans really enjoy it. So, I did it."
Luck is a competitive quarterback who hates losing, but the loss to the Patriots hurt more than usual - the Colts came so close in playing in the AFC Championship game, but then they were embarrassed in the game by the Patriots.
"I think every loss in the playoffs leaves a really, really terrible taste in your mouth," Luck said. "But this one has been worse than the other two because we did get so close. And the way we lost, it was just embarrassing." He further noted that it will take him a while to get over the 45-7 loss.
Luck is not yet over the loss. The Colts aren't yet over the loss. And, while there are seven Colts' players in Arizona, they're playing a week earlier than they would have liked. The Pro Bowl takes place tonight with the Super Bowl taking place next weekend. Luck would much rather have not played in this game because he was preparing for next week's game, but that's not the case. He still almost skipped the Pro Bowl because of how disappointed and upset he was about the loss, but when the phone call came on Monday morning, he said yes. He'd play in the Pro Bowl.
He seems a lot like Peyton Manning in that regard. Countless players drop out of the Pro Bowl every year for "injuries" or other reasons, and that leaves the quarterback position with guys like Andy Dalton playing on a team made up of the NFL's best. That says a lot. But Manning always took it as his responsibility and privilege to play in the game, and in fact this year will mark the first time he has ever missed a Pro Bowl he was voted to for any reason other than making a Super Bowl (he dropped out due to his quad injury).
Similarly, Andrew Luck has played in the Pro Bowl in each of his three years and he will again tonight, even though he considered skipping it. Hopefully he won't have a decision to make next year because hopefully the Colts will be playing the week after.