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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Saints stay united on Pro Bowl roster

By Mike Triplett

It helps to have friends in high places. All five New Orleans Saints Pro Bowlers will play for the same team on Sunday night after Saints quarterback Drew Brees helped hand-pick his own roster during the two-night draft. Brees was a co-captain for “Team Rice,” led by Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice.

Brees said Rice allowed him to make the first pick for their team on Wednesday night, which he used on tight end Jimmy Graham (the second overall pick Wednesday behind Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck).

“That’s my guy, and I knew he wouldn’t disappoint me,” Graham said during the NFL Network telecast.

Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan joined Team Rice about an hour later. And Saints guards Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs were selected by Brees on Tuesday night.

The NFL made several tweaks to the Pro Bowl format this year to try and drum up interest in the annual All-Star game – including the way rosters were chosen via “schoolyard draft” instead of by conference. But the Saints wound up playing together anyway, so there is no added intrigue when it comes to them competing against one another.