Pro Bowl kickers face a much more difficult chore in Pro Bowl PATs



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SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Kickers Adam Vinatieri and Cody Parkey are going to have to narrow their focus and kick a little harder to convert an extra point in Sunday's Pro Bowl.

The NFL will narrow the goal posts from the current 18.6-feet to 14 feet. In addition, the kick will be moved back to the 15-yard line, making it about a 33-yard field goal.

Vinatieri, at 42 the oldest Pro Bowl member, doesn't like the idea.

"Other people might enjoy that," he said. "For me, I'm a traditionalist. Don't change it unless it needs to be changed. The league has never been more successful. The fan base has never been greater. But the deciding powers are way above me."

The NFL is experimenting with making the PAT more difficult because they are virtually automatic now.

Over the past five seasons, Indianapolis' Vinatieri hasn't missed one in five years, going 196 for 196. Parkey, a rookie for Philadelphia, made all 54 of his attempts.

"I don't prefer it but it is what it is," Parkey said after the team practiced at Scottsdale Community College on Friday. "It's going to be way harder. It's the kind of situation where there are so many good kickers in the league that I guess made it look easy. They've got to find other ways to make it harder. No matter what it is, we'll accept the challenge."

For field goals, the posts will expand to their normal width.

BRONCOS PRAISE: Bronco players Ryan Clady and Aqib Talib said they didn't see coach John Fox leaving after their season ended.

"It was definitely a shock," Clady said. " But (John) Elway wanted to bring in his own guy. I'm happy for the coach to find a job so quickly.

After Fox parted ways with the Broncos, he quickly was hired as the head coach of the Chicago Bears. Elway hired Gary Kubiak to coach the Broncos.

Both Broncos had effusive praise for the coaching of Fox.

Talib called him "a dream coach."

"All his players loved him," Talib said. "You could talk to any of his former players, all the guys love him, including myself."

Clady, in a separate interview, had the same sort of words.

"As an actual person, he's one of the coolest coaches I've been around," Clady said. "You can just walk up and talk to him. He chats it up in the locker room, chats it up with the guys. He's a real player's coach, where some coaches will try to have that fear factor and intimidate guys, won't talk to them, walk past them."

GOODWILL PLAYERS: As football practices go, the workouts for Team Irvin and Team Carter are about as basic, low key and uninspired as you'll ever see.

As exhibitions of goodwill, they have made a lot of friends.

When the team practiced at Luke Air Force Base on Thursday, military personnel and their families were allowed to watch, and hundreds showed up. After the practice, the players stayed for a long while signing autographs and posing for pictures.

On Friday, the practice shifted to Scottsdale Community College, where children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Ronald McDonald House were allowed on the field after the workouts to get autographs, while the players stooped down to the kids' level to pose for photos.

"The platform we have as athletes in this game," Indianapolis quarterback Andre Luck said, "if we can make a positive influence on someone, it's great. It's very rewarding."


AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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