- Arash Markazi, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- The 2013 NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl will return to the Home Depot Center on Jan. 19 with Herm Edwards and Dick Vermeil serving as coaches.
Edwards replaces Tom Flores as the coach of the American Team. Vermeil returns as the coach of the National Team after winning the inaugural game last year.
The biggest change this year is the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will be open to only draft-eligible seniors. Last year it was also open to underclassmen who entered their names into the draft. It was a controversial decision and led to the NFL barring scouts from attending the game.
League rules prohibit team scouts from being at practices or games of a college all-star game that includes underclassmen, and the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl was the only one that included underclassmen who had given up their eligibility and declared for the draft.
The decision and lack of NFL scouts produced a weak roster turnout and an even worse turnout in attendance. The NFLPA believes it will be able to attract more high-profile players by making it a senior-only bowl with NFL scouts.
The players for the game will arrive in Los Angeles on Jan. 14 for a week of practices before the game, much like the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. The biggest difference is players will also receive an in-depth introduction to the union and talk to former players, including Terrell Davis, Lorenzo Neal and Andre Reed.
This is not the first time Edwards' and Vermeil's football paths have crossed. In 1977, Edwards made his NFL debut with the Philadelphia Eagles, where Vermeil was the head coach. They won the Eagles' first NFC title in 1980 and advanced to Super Bowl XV. Nearly three decades after Vermeil gave Edwards his NFL start, Vermeil retired in 2006, and Edwards succeeded him as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.
5hEric D. Williams