Troops watch Pro Bowl practice

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 24, 2013
Thousands of military service members and their families crowded a small field at Pearl Harbor to catch a glimpse of their favorite NFL stars as they practiced in the rain in preparation for Sunday's Pro Bowl. Downpours didn't stop kids and adults Thursday from shouting toward their favorite stars like Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson as they did light drills, then signed autographs. New Orleans punter Thomas Morstead toyed with fans as he punted balls from one sideline toward fans behind a barrier on the other side of the field - each ball stopping well short of the crowd. The practice at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam was held at a field named for famed aviator Amelia Earhart, near three large military transport planes. The practice served as a reminder of why the Pro Bowl is important to keep around, Fitzgerald said. ''It's an honor to be out here and to be able to meet all the servicemen and women - it makes it special,'' Fitzgerald said. ''It's important that we come out and play well this year. We want to continue to have the Pro Bowl game and obviously want to keep it here.'' Earlier Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated at a preview event for the 2014 Super Bowl that the Pro Bowl is in danger of going away. ''This is something we've got to deal with,'' Goodell said. ''And if we can't improve on the quality of the game, it's something we're not going to do in the future.'' Service members on Thursday were thinking less about the future and more about snagging autographs and special moments with their favorite stars in the present. Air Force Maj. Alan Partridge, a 33-year-old Seattle Seahawks fan, said the practice is special for military families, especially kids. He said he hopes the tradition continues. ''I think it's still worth it to have (the game) even if they don't play at 100 percent,'' said Partridge, part of a crew that flies Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport planes. The NFC, which practiced first, got in more practice time than the AFC squad because of the rain, which intensified to a downpour by midday. Buffalo running back CJ Spiller said the moment was a special part of a week spent celebrating being among the NFL's best. ''Those guys do a lot for our country and they sacrifice private life to try to help make sure that we have a better country,'' Spiller said. ''It means a whole lot to come back here and be with these guys.'' --- Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia --- Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Klay Thompson sets record as Warriors force Game 7

WATCH: Steven Adams makes a monster dunk on Draymond Green

WATCH: Noah Syndergaard tossed after throwing behind Chase Utley

White Sox in talks to acquire James Shields from Padres

NBA player shot and killed after reportedly breaking into apartment

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dodgers send top prospect back to minors after one game

DeRozan: ‘My mindset has always been Toronto’

Will soccer superstar Lionel Messi have to miss the Copa America?

Did you know Peyton Manning was "pretty close" to QBing for Titans?

WATCH: Kevin Love gives this reporter no love in press conference

Three reasons the Penguins are a lock to win the Stanley Cup

Baylor QB Russell's Instagram post about program on return from mission trip

Titans' Walker not friends with rookies until they make team

Lue had vulgar reaction to Blatt firing, urged team to reconsider

Would trading Okafor or Noel make sense for the 76ers?

Why Zlatan Ibrahimovic belongs at Manchester United

Winston lost 18 pounds to deter sophomore slump

Michigan spring break trip to Florida cost nearly $350,000

Warriors' Curry could careless about Westbrook's opinions

Christian Hackenberg: A Jet in repair

Cowboys cool on trading running backs, especially Ezekiel Elliott

Have we seen enough of Giants backup catcher Trevor Brown?

Vlasic donates $2,500 to Backes’ charity

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

How expanded instant replay has hurt the NBA

Best regular-season NBA teams not to win a championship

Every time an NBA team came back from a 3-1 deficit (and what it means for the Warriors)

How disallowed goals can change the course of NHL games

The five most disappointing MLB teams this season

QUIZ: Identify these NHL Hall of Famers by their nicknames

QUIZ: Name every winner of the Belmont Stakes since 1867

Sniping quotes highlight NHL conference finals animosity

QUIZ: Name every NBA franchise's original incarnation

The 15 biggest playoff upsets in NBA history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker