Adams arrived, equipment didn't

Pro Bowl notebook

Updated: February 14, 2005, 9:14 AM ET
By James C. Black | ESPN.com

HONOLULU -- In an attempt to minimize any chance of a wardrobe malfunction making headlines, the NFL scheduled rock singer Jason Mraz and local legend Don Ho to perform at the Pro Bowl on Sunday. But an "undressed" Flozell Adams proved once again that you can't plan for everything.

The Cowboys' offensive tackle, making his second straight trip to the league's all-star game, was ruled out of the contest at Aloha Stadium because his helmet and shoulder pads never arrived from the team's headquarters. Adams, a late addition to the NFC roster, watched from the sidelines as the AFC prevailed 38-27.

"I'm thinking it's lost in the mail like anything else," Adams said of his reaction on Thursday when he was informed his equipment hadn't arrived. "They'll find it and I'll be ready tomorrow."

Friday came, then Saturday. No gear.

"It wasn't a big deal until I got here [Sunday] and it wasn't there," said one of five Cowboys to make the squad.

By then, Adams was upset ... but still determined to play. He tried on several other helmets that the equipment crew at the stadium provided, but that didn't work, either.

"You just can't put on any helmet. You might injure yourself," said the 6-foot-7, 343-pound lineman.

So after making the trek to Hawaii late in the week, Adams was reduced to being an innocent bystander.

Together again
More than eight years had passed since twins Ronde and Tiki Barber played for the same team. It took just nine plays for each to have an impact on the contest.

On the AFC's first play from scrimmage, Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson sped down field and created some separation from Ronde Barber. But as Johnson stopped to wait for Peyton Manning's pass, the Buccaneers cornerback recovered enough to knock the ball away. The AFC went scoreless on the possession and Barber registered a tackle when he took down San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson following a 6-yard run.

On the NFC's ensuing possession, Giants tailback Tiki made a few fancy moves on his way to a 21-yard gain and first down.

The pair had played against each other in a few regular-season games during their pro careers, but it was the first time being on the same side since playing for the University of Virginia in 1996.

"It was special. I haven't been out there with him in a long time," said Ronde, making his second appearance in the game. "I love watching him play."

It was also special for their relatives, as 25 were in attendance to watch the brothers. However, Ronde says that's generally the case when they play.

But for all the great moments and flashbacks, not every instance for the twins was a good one. Midway in the fourth quarter with the NFC down 31-27, Ronde was unable to deflect a pass intended for Tony Gonzalez. The Kansas City tight end made a 25-yard leaping grab behind Barber and the AFC scored a touchdown three plays later with 5:20 left to essentially put the game away.

Tiki finished the game with 70 yards on nine carries while Ronde logged four tackles.

Trick or treat
Neither coaching staff was shy about opening the playbook and trying to create extra opportunities with their special teams units.

After failing to pick up a first down three plays into its opening series, the AFC lined up for a punt from its own 31-yard line. But instead of having Oakland's Shane Lechler boot the ball, New England's Larry Izzo took a direct snap and went straight up the middle for a 27-yard gain and first down.

"We worked on that for about a minute, two minutes in one of our first practices," Izzo said. "It was one of those things that if you get the look, it's easy to do and the guys gave me good blocking.

"It was a lot of fun carrying the ball in the Pro Bowl. It's not something I thought I would do," he said.

Not wanting to be outdone, the NFC resorted to some trickery of its own in the second period with less favorable results.

After Philadelphia's Brian Westbrook scored on a 12-yard run to cut the deficit to 14-7, the NFC tried to catch the AFC napping with an onside kick. However, Pittsburgh's Hines Ward caught the ball on a bounce and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown.

"I thought I was going to get hit hard on it," said Ward, who had scored earlier in the half on a 41-yard touchdown pass from Manning, "but [Green Bay's William] Henderson went for the ball, I jumped over him, caught it and tried to outrun everyone."

Ward realized that Atlanta's Allen Rossum was in pursuit so he leaped into the end zone to complete the play.

Grand finale?
If Pittsburgh running back Jerome Bettis has made a decision on his future, he's keeping it a secret.

Bettis, an eventual starter for the Steelers this season and late addition to the AFC roster, said that he's still undecided on his future plans and intends to step away from football for a while before drawing a conclusion.

"It's still 50-50," said Bettis, who led the Steelers with 941 yards this season.

Bettis saw limited duty on Sunday, gaining 23 yards on just five carries.

James C. Black is an NFL Editor for ESPN.com and may be reached at james.black@espn3.com.

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