Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who started his first Pro Bowl a few months ago in Hawaii, hopes he hasn't played in his last one.
On Thursday ESPN reported that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, upset with the quality of the game, is ready to bag it as early as this year after the AFC's 58-41 win on Jan. 29 in what was a glorified seven-on-seven drill.
Atkins, whose raging motor has made him a Pro Bowler, thought everybody got into it by the second half. He was active as anyone with two tackles and several QB pressures.
"In the first quarter, everyone was trying to get back into it and before the end it was a fast-flowing game," Atkins said. "The thing about it is some guys have been out three weeks, some guys have been out a month, some guys a week. We got knocked out of the playoffs three weeks before and I hadn't done any running. I was probably a little out of shape. You need some adjustment time. You just need to get your bones ready."
Atkins said a big reason the intensity is down is because of the fear of injury.
"You get hurt in the Pro Bowl, you're out of luck," he said. "It hurts you if you're a free agent or you're looking at another contract or if you're just trying to get ready for the next season (because it's so late in the year). They can modify it, but they already make it for the offense. You can't blitz and do other things on defense."
But Atkins says the game should still go on. He said he enjoyed his experience, in which he hosted his parents, siblings and girlfriend.
"It's a reward," he said. "It's a great experience being named one of the top at your position. It's a good time to relax and enjoy Hawaii with your family."
MAUALUGA CASE DISMISSED: With middle linebacker Rey Maualuga coming back from his injured ankle and his off-field problem resolved, the Bengals are hoping he'll have a breakout year like Atkins did last season now that he's poised to be able to play in all 16 games.
A judge dismissed a misdemeanor assault charge against Maualuga on Thursday in Hamilton County Municipal Court stemming from a Feb. 5 incident in a downtown bar. According to the Associated Press, the case was dismissed after prosecutors said neither Maualuga nor the bar employee wanted to pursue the matter.
BIG CALL: Charlie Kock, who goes back to the Nippert Stadium days, won the team's draft e-mail sweepstakes for season ticket holders and makes the call Saturday in New York when the Bengals make the fourth-round pick.
Cock, 67, whose favorite memory is the Freezer Bowl, is accompanied on the trip by Barbara, his wife of 44 years. He counts A.J. Green, Isaac Curtis, Tim Krumrie and Archie Griffin as his favorite Bengals. He worked at Ohmart/VEGA Corporation in Oakley before retiring 12 years ago.
INTROS: The two Bengals two first-rounders are scheduled to make their Paul Brown Stadium introductions in Friday's mid-afternoon news conference. The second- and third-rounders, selected between 6-10 p.m. Friday, are tentatively headed to Great American Ball Park for Saturday night's Reds game against the Astros.