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Suspension of Pro Bowl under consideration

NEW YORK -- Have NFL fans seen the last of the Pro Bowl?

The game could be suspended next year, two people familiar with discussions said Thursday.

Commissioner Roger Goodell, among others, expressed concerns about the quality of play after January's game, and the league has been holding talks with the players' union about the future of the all-star game. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks were not being publicized.

Responding to an ESPN report that Goodell is "strongly considering" suspending the game in 2013, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said: "No determination has been made yet."

Goodell said before the Super Bowl in February he was unhappy with what he saw in the AFC's 59-41 win in the Pro Bowl at Honolulu -- a game that often resembled touch football. Many players chosen for the game bow out, and if the Pro Bowl is held before the Super Bowl, as it was during the past three years, players from the conference champions don't participate.

The game draws solid TV ratings, but isn't considered a money maker.

The big factor is cost, particularly when played in Hawaii. And with so many defections -- there were 20 replacements for non-participating players in 2012, including Pro Bowlers from the Giants and Patriots who were occupied with the Super Bowl -- it raises the question of whether the game is still special.

Hawaii began hosting the game in 1980 and it was held there annually until 2010.


Loomis has faith in Saints

METAIRIE, La. -- Embattled Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis had plenty to discuss before Thursday night's NFL draft, even if his club had no first-round pick.

Topics on the table included wiretapping, Drew Brees' contract talks and New Orleans' bounty system. Loomis candidly addressed them all, and more.

He was "angry" about the recent wiretapping allegations. He was empathetic to fans' concerns over prolonged contract negotiations with Brees. He was prepared to deal with the consequences of the NFL's bounty investigation. And no, he wasn't discouraged by all the recent bad publicity or the fact that head coach Sean Payton has begun serving a suspension that won't end until after the Super Bowl.

The Saints were not slated to draft a player until late in tonight's third round, 89th overall.


Vikings sign Simpson

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings have signed Jerome Simpson, the former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver recently convicted on a felony drug charge.

ESPN has reported that Simpson will be suspended for three games under the league's substance abuse policy. The second-round 2008 draft pick out of Coastal Carolina played sparingly his first three years in the NFL but had a breakout season in 2011, playing in all 16 games while catching 50 passes for 725 yards and four touchdowns.


Rams get three of next 13

NEW YORK -- After all the draft pick shuffling, the St. Louis Rams ended up with three of the first 13 picks in today's second round of the draft, including the first and seventh.

There are seven players who were projected to be first-round talents who are still available. The Bills have the ninth pick in the second round.

Available are linebackers Courtney Upshaw of Alabama, offensive tackles Cordy Glenn of Georgia, Jonathon Martin of Stanford and Mike Adams of Ohio State, tight end Coby Fleener of Stanford, defensive tackle Jerel Worthy of Michigan State, and center Peter Konz of Wisconsin.

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