Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco turned down the opportunity to play in the Pro Bowl because his wife, Dana, is due to give birth to the couple’s third child this month.
Flacco was invited to participate in the game after several other players either pulled out because of injury, or because their team is preparing for the Super Bowl.
The 30-year-old Raven has never played in the Pro Bowl. He’s coming off arguably his best NFL season as he set career highs in touchdown passes (27) and passing yards (3,986) while leading the Ravens to a 10-6 record and a playoff spot for the sixth time in the past seven years.
The Ravens have had two previous quarterbacks earn Pro Bowl berths: Vinny Testaverde in 1996 and Steve McNair in 2006.
Tuesday, the Cincinnati Bengals announced that their quarterback, Andy Dalton, has been selected to play in the Pro Bowl, replacing injured Green Bay Packers’ signal caller Aaron Rodgers.
Dalton was the seventh alternate and his addition to the game, which will take place Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, also the site of Super Bowl XLIV on Feb.1.
The original six Pro Bowl quarterbacks selected were: Rodgers, the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, the Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck, the Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger and the Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo.
Only Luck and Romo from that original group will be in Arizona this week preparing to play in the Pro Bowl. They’ll be joined by Dalton, the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees, the Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford and the Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan. The final four guys were all alternates for the game.
Brady can’t play because his team is preparing for the Super Bowl. Rodgers, Manning and Roethlisberger pulled out of the game because of injuries. A couple of the top alternates – Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks – also aren’t available. Rivers is recovering from a back injury while Wilson is preparing to play in his second consecutive Super Bowl.