Anyone wondering whether real-life teammates would actually hit each other in the first schoolyard-style Pro Bowl got their answer Sunday night.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
Unfortunately for Chiefs fans, the answer was a resounding yes, and it involved two of their own, as linebacker Derrick Johnson swooped in and delivered a massive blow to running back Jamaal Charles in the first quarter of the game (scroll down to watch the video).
I didnt expect it, but hes out there doing his thing, Charles said. I can't get mad at him. It's just about football, and youve just got to be ready.
Mind you, Charles missed the majority of the Chiefs 45-44 first-round playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts with a concussion. But Johnson apparently wasnt concerned about that.
If you stand back, hes going to make you look pretty bad, so I had to go out and really give it to him, said Johnson, who finished with nine tackles. I would never try to hurt my teammate at all, but compete a little bit.
Johnson, who was named the games defensive MVP, may have had a little extra motivation to turn in a big performance. Not only was he an alternate ― he wasnt added to the roster until San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman tore his ACL last week ― but Charles was a captain for Deion Sanders team, which passed on Johnson in the Pro Bowl draft in favor of Carolina Panthers Luke Kuechly.
Johnson eventually landed on Jerry Rice's team, which prevailed 22-21. For the record, Johnsons Pro Football Focus grade of 15.4 ranked third in the league among inside linebackers, while Kuechlys grade of 7.7 ranked eighth.
To be fair, its unclear how much of this really went through Johnsons mind on Sunday. But when the game was over, he certainly didnt seem to regret his hit on Charles.
Have to give my fellow teammate some friendly fire. LOL! I can't lie, it felt pretty good! #probowl— Derrick Johnson (@superdj56) January 27, 2014
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.