Pro Bowl draft: Andrew Luck on ‘Deflate-gate,’ Cardinals stay together

Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell celebrates after he was selected by Team Carter during the Pro Bowl draft at The Arizona Biltmore on Wednesday night.

PHOENIX — The best moment of Wednesday’s Pro Bowl draft’s came minutes after it started.

Team Carter, led by Cris Carter, selected Colts quarterback Andrew Luck first overall. In his media session thereafter, the quarterback was asked how he was feeling following Indianapolis’ 45-7 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. It was three days ago, so of course the pain could be fresh.

"It’s sort of, the energy is sort of sucked out of you," Luck said. "You do feel deflated … Oh shoo … yeah."

Luck’s word choice wasn’t great following reports the Patriots’ game balls in that game were under-inflated. He couldn’t guess whether New England had deflated their game balls since each team uses their own set, but Luck said he hasn’t dwelled on the loss.

He’s ready to move on to next season.

"Things in the media tend to be blown out of proportion a little bit," Luck said. "That’s the nature of where we are today. (The Patriots are) a good football team."

Perhaps Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib put it best: What did the condition of the ball have to do withLeGarrette Blount rushing for 148 yards against the Colts’ defense?

Arizona Cardinal fans will have an easy time rooting for one team during the Pro Bowl, even though the NFC vs. AFC format no longer exists.

They can thank Team Carter for playing the local crowd by selecting all four Cardinals to its squad.


1. Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
2. Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
3. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
4. Odell Beckham, WR, Giants
5. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
6. Tyron Smith, T, Cowboys
7. Patrick Peterson, CB, Cardinals
8. Luke Kuechly, LB, Panthers
9. Mario Williams, DE, Bills
10. Cameron Wake, DE, Dolphins

Patrick Peterson was the first defensive player off the draft board, going seventh overall to Team Carter. Carter’s squad then picked Arizona defensive end Calais Campbell with the 23rd overall selection to team him with Peterson and Cardinals special teamer Justin Bethel, who was added to Team Carter before the draft.

But the selection of Arizona cornerback Antonio Cromartie got the biggest buzz from the crowd.

With Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton pleading on the NFL Network broadcast for Team Carter to pair him with teammate and third overall pick, receiver A.J. Green, Team Carter captain J.J. Watt paused at his microphone.

"This is the Bird Gang right?" he said as the crowd erupted.

Watt selected Cromartie.

Dalton didn’t need to pout, however. He just had to wait a little longer before Team Carter drafted him.

Colts safety Mike Adams made his first Pro Bowl appearance in 10 seasons. As a player who was undrafted out of college, that’s a pretty big deal.

Then again, Adams wasn’t exactly drafted Wednesday either. He was the final draftable player in the Pro Bowl green room, leaving him to Team Irvin, which owned the final pick.

Adams didn’t seem too perturbed, but then again …

"I think I’m getting MVP now," he said.

A number of players were asked whether they’d rather be playing the Pro Bowl in Hawaii.

Indeed, there were a lot of guys wishing there was a nearby beach, but there weren’t too many complaints beyond that — even though an NFL Network television director apologized for keeping the fans in attendance standing in the heat so long. The high on Wednesday, for what it’s worth, was 72 degrees.

"It’s going to be kind of different versus going to Hawaii for the first three years, enjoying the beach," Peterson said. "To have it here is special. I think it’s going to draw more local fans, it’s not that expensive to fly to Arizona opposed to flying across the water.

"I think it’s good for that city to have two major events (the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl next week), back-to-back," he added.

New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who hoped fellow LSU product Peterson would line up on the other side of the field, has a unique perspective on the event. The rookie wideout was chosen fourth overall and after his 1,305-yard, 12-touchdown season is grateful just to be selected to the Pro Bowl.

"I definitely would love to go to Hawaii, but Arizona is a place that I know," he said. "It’s almost like a second home. I train down here for the combine and I’ve been out here for an extended period of time."

One thing everyone agreed upon: It’s a much easier flight to Phoenix than to Hawaii.

Hair references seemed to be a big part of Wednesday night’s festivities. A sampling:

"Neck beard with an arm": Watt’s reference to quarterback Andrew Luck.

"Kramer hair": How Watt describes the hair style of Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin.

"Magical powers": Chargers safety Eric Weddle said in describing his beard.