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Devin Hester upset Pro Bowl is ditching kick returns

We unpacked the new-look Pro Bowl during Wednesday's edition of the Around The League Podcast.

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Fans might smile on the changes to the annual all-star game. Devin Hester of the Chicago Bears won't.

Why? Because kickoffs have been erased from the Pro Bowl. In this season's affair, the ball will be placed on the 25-yard line at the start of each quarter and after scoring plays. Hester, a three-time Pro Bowl player and the league's all-time leader for combined kick and punt return touchdowns, obviously isn't thrilled with the tweak.

"That was one of my goals for this season," Hester told the Chicago Tribune. "I won't make the Pro Bowl. They can't do that."

They can, and they did. But Hester has a point. It's not uncommon for return specialists to have Pro Bowl incentives woven into their contracts. That means fewer greenbacks for guys like Hester and Josh Cribbs.

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Two seasons ago, the NFL moved kickoffs up five yards to the 35-yard line in league play, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has mulled removing the return game altogether in the name of player safety.

Not a pretty picture for guys like Hester.

"If you are taking the returner out of the Pro Bowl, you're taking two positions out." Hester said. "That will suck for me. They are trying to change up the whole game of football and they're messing with people's jobs and lives."

It sure seems like the Pro Bowl is being used as a testing ground. If the return game isn't missed in lovely Hawaii, it's a candidate to vanish from football altogether.

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