NFL to have Pro Bowlers play dodgeball as part of ‘skills showdown’

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Dodgeball is coming to the Pro Bowl.

The NFL announced Monday it will hold a “skills showdown” as part of the festivities next month in Orlando. Included in the events at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports are a “best hands” competition, “precision passing,” a four-man “power relay challenge,” and a game of “epic” dodgeball.

You read that last part correctly and this wasn’t an announcement made on The Onion.

Pro Bowlers will compete in a game of dodgeball. That sounds like fun, until someone tweaks their elbow or slips and tears an ACL or takes a ball to the face and has a broken nose.

The NFL last held a skills competition in 2007 and tried a Pro Bowl gimmick with a short-lived rookie beach football game in Hawaii. That ended after then-Patriots rookie running back Robert Edwards blew out his knee while diving for a ball. The injury was career-ending and so severe that amputation of Edwards’ lower leg was considered a possibility.

The NHL and NBA have long held skills competitions during their All-Star weekends, but the events are related to their respective sport. Even MLB’s Home Run Derby is a baseball-hitting challenge.

But, if you’re in the NFL, apparently, if you can dodge a wrench — or a linebacker — you can dodge a ball.