KAHUKU, Hawaii – Oakland Raiders teammates Derek Carr and Amari Cooper were the first players to hit the practice field ahead of Sunday’s Pro Bowl. The quarterback-receiver duo arrived about 30 minutes before the start of Team Rice’s final walk-through, well before the rest of their all-star teammates.
“We wanted to get extra work in,” Carr said. “Anytime that we come out we want to compete and put our best foot forward, so we wanted to make sure that we came out and got some extra work in.”
Carr and Cooper are among five Raiders in Hawaii this week. Four of them – running back Latavius Murray and defensive end Khalil Mack, in addition to Cooper and Carr – have three or fewer seasons in the NFL.
“It’s awesome,” Carr said. “I’m happy that my teammates are here and that’s the stuff that fires me up. It just helps us grow, it helps us build together.”
RICE RUNS AUTOGRAPHS FOR LANDRY AT PRO BOWL PRACTICE: There was at least one autograph-seeker Saturday that Jarvis Landry had to oblige: Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice.
Minutes after Team Rice’s 30-minute practice session, Rice came jogging across the field to seek out the Miami second-year wide receiver for one eager Dolphins fan.
Landry, selected for his first Pro Bowl after recording 110 receptions for 1,157 yards this season, did the alumni captain one better. He went over with Rice to meet the young man face to face.
As the pair made their way off the practice field minutes later, Rice shared some career advice with Landry.
“He’s a great guy and we just talked about doing it for other people, making them happy, spending time with our family and putting smiles on people’s faces,” Landry said. “That’s what we’re here to do.”
Landry laughed at the mention of the NFL’s leader in career receptions and receiving yards as his autograph runner.
“It’s surreal to have this opportunity,” Landry said. “I’m kind of still processing what he told me just now. Every chance I get to talk to him and have a little conversation with him, I’m trying to pick his brain about things that I’ve seen him do, things that I’ve heard and just trying to find ways to better myself.”
Both teams went through their final walk-throughs on Saturday.
ROBINSON RELISHING OPPORTUNITY: Jacksonville Jaguars second-year wide receiver Allen Robinson couldn’t help but be in awe of his surroundings this week.
“It’s special, for sure,” said Robinson, who is joined by Atlanta’s Julio Jones, Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green on Team Irvin. “I think it’s pretty cool to be lining up with a bunch of guys who are spectacular receivers. For me being a young guy, I’m just watching these guys and how they work and trying to get to that consistent level that those guys are at.”
Robinson was giddy at the chance to learn from alumni captain and Hall of Famer Michael Irvin: “He’s a Hall of Famer. He’s at that level that I want to work toward and reach one day, so it’s a great honor to be coached by someone of his caliber this week.”
PACKERS SILENT ON RODGERS: A day after it was reported that quarterback Aaron Rodgers had knee surgery days after Green Bay was eliminated from the playoffs, Packers’ associate head coach Winston Moss – who is serving as coach of Team Irvin in the absence of Mike McCarthy – declined to comment on the report. Rodgers told ESPN.com on Friday night that he was “doing well” and “recovering on schedule.”
ALOHA SPIRIT: As his team went through its final practice, Rice spent nearly the entire half-hour signing autographs while working his way down a seemingly never-ending line of fans. Rice, who was the winning alumni captain in the first Pro Bowl to use the current “unconference” format back in 2013, even put on a 49ers jersey of his at a fan’s request and posed for a photo.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Carr, on sending his Oakland Raiders and Team Rice teammate Charles Woodson out a winner in his final game of an 18-year NFL career:
“That’s something that would be fun. He said that he could use the extra money, but I don’t believe him.”
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