Rodgers Making Pitch at Pro Bowl

Sunday's all-star game features star-studded lineups, and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will spend some of his week bragging up Green Bay as a future home to some of the game's top players.

Obviously, Aaron Rodgers would rather be landing in Indianapolis on Sunday for the start of Super Bowl festivities instead of playing in the Pro Bowl in Honolulu.

But Rodgers plans on making the most of his tropical getaway.

"You've got to do some (recruiting)," Rodgers told ESPN Milwaukee's Jason Wilde on Wednesday. "That's the fun part. We had a good team when I went the last time (in 2009, when) we lost in the first round of the playoffs. But Green Bay is becoming a more desirable place, I've got to think. It's not the same place that Chris Canty refused to take a trip to unless there was a contract in place. I remember, probably the biggest name I've seen in my seven years that we didn't sign, that came out to visit, was LaVar Arrington. I think that was back in 2006. We haven't really been a free agent team. That being said I think there's a good possibility that we might go out and get somebody on the defensive side of the ball."

The NFC boasts a dream quarterbacking duo of Rodgers and Drew Brees of the Saints. They combined to throw for more than 10,000 yards with 91 touchdowns to just 20 interceptions.

They'll have terrific targets to throw to, including Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald (80 receptions, 1,411 yards, eight touchdowns), Carolina's Steve Smith (79 receptions, 1,394 yards, seven TDs), teammate Greg Jennings (67 catches, 949 yards, nine touchdowns) and New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham (99 receptions, 1,310 yards, 11 touchdowns). Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy (1,309 rushing yards, 48 receptions, 20 total touchdowns) and Chicago's Matt Forte (997 rushing yards, 52 receptions, four total touchdowns) can run or catch passes effectively to provide offensive balance.

Rodgers is especially looking forward to throwing to Fitzgerald and Graham.

"We have a big stud tight end in Green Bay in Jermichael (Finley)," Rodgers said. "Jimmy has had an incredible season. It's fun to play with a similar body type talent like Jimmy, and then playing with Larry, we don't have anybody with his body type and his reach and his height in Green Bay. I wouldn't trade any of our guys in Green Bay, but it's fun to throw to some bigger receivers like that. Larry and I have become friends over the last couple of years ,so it's good to see him and throw to him."

The AFC's quarterback tandem of Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger (21 touchdown passes) and San Diego's Philip Rivers (27) didn't have seasons as strong as the NFC pair but they are both tough guys and winners in their own right.

The quarterback rotations are rounded out by two rookies — Carolina's Cam Newton for the NFC and Cincinnati's Andy Dalton for the AFC.

A.J. Green (65 receptions, 1,057 yards, seven touchdowns) of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace (72 receptions, 1,193 yards, eight touchdowns) will be top targets for the AFC quarterbacks. Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew (1,606 rushing yards, 43 receptions, 11 total touchdowns), Denver's Willis McGahee (1,199 rushing yards, five total touchdowns) and the Chargers' Ryan Mathews (1,091 rushing yards, 50 receptions, six total touchdowns) will handle running back chores.

Defensively, Minnesota end Jared Allen (66 tackles) led the league with 22 sacks and Dallas outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (58 tackles, 19.5 sacks) and Philadelphia end Jason Babin (40 tackles, 18 sacks) join him in the NFC's lineup. Green Bay's Charles Woodson (74 tackles, two sacks, seven interceptions) Clay Matthews (50 tackles, six sacks, three interceptions) and B.J. Raji (three sacks) are among the players who will try to contain the AFC's potential fireworks.

The AFC, led by Houston coach Gary Kubiak, will tie the all-time series at 21-21 if it can pull off a win. The NFC, guided by Mike McCarthy of Green Bay, looks to be victorious for the fourth time in five games.

"He's in his ‘Chairman of the Board' mode, sitting back and enjoying things," Rodgers said of McCarthy. "I want to see him in maybe a little more colorful Hawaiian shirt, maybe in practice. I'm hoping he goes big on Sunday for the game, but him in a Hawaiian shirt would be a really good sight."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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