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Quick hits: Whit supports return to old Pro Bowl; Report says Falcons pass on Freeney


Word that the NFL is leaning to switching the Pro Bowl back to the AFC-NFC format when it is played in Orlando, Fla., this season got the thumbs up from a Bengal who has played in both.

 Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who played this past season in the NFL all-star game where the rosters were mixed, also played in the last AFC-NFC game after the 2012 season.

 "That's 100 percent better. I thought the combined thing was silly," Whitworth said. "You keep the history, the legend of the game, the camaraderie of being in the American Conference. There was something awesome about that. You try to spice up the game and sometimes you go too far. That was too far to me."

But even though Whitworth saw his tight end hurt in the game back in the Jan. 31 Pro Bowl when Tyler Eifert injured a tendon in his ankle and may not be ready for the regular-season opener, he doesn't think abolishing the  game is a logical answer.

"You can't even argue for just having a seven-on-seven game because that's what that play basically was," Whitworth said of the 35-yard pass down the seam from Jameis Winston that Eifert couldn't corral as he jammed his foot. "(That play) eliminates that, too," Whitworth said. "I think you have to have an all-star game at this level of sports. I mean, that kind of injury could have happened getting a rebound in basketball or catching a popup in baseball."

FALCONS PASS ON FREENEY: According to, the Falcons won't sign defensive end Dwight Freeney right now but didn't rule out signing him later. Freeney visited the Bengals last week, but there didn't look to be anything imminent in the wake of the news out of Atlanta.

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