Maui Sports

The return of the Pro Bowl

March 3, 2009, 8:29 AM HST
* Updated March 3, 9:55 AM
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Reports of the Pro Bowl’s permanent departure from Hawaii were premature.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority – under pressure from fans and politicians – apparently will reconsider and approve an offer to host the game in 2011 and 2012.

The proposed deal would bring back the game for those two years, although it would be played on the Sunday before the Super Bowl, which means the top players from the league’s top two teams would not be available.

Also, the HTA will have to pay $4 million instead of the previous $4.5M to host the event.

FREE AGENTS:  The NFL’s free agent market officially opened for business a minute past midnight, EST, on Friday.  And several of the highest-profile players have already reached agreement on their respective deals.

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Topping the list is former Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who signed a monster seven-year $100 million contract with Washington that includes $42 million in guarantees.

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Prized wide receiver TJ Housmandzadeh left Cincinnati and passed on an offer from Minnesota to sign with Seattle.

Lured by the opportunity to play for Rex Ryan, his former defensive coordinator at Baltimore and now head coach of the Jets, linebacker Bart Scott bolted for New York.  Dallas defensive end Chris Canty signed with the New York Giants.

Several others re-signed with their current teams:  cornerback  DeAngelo Hall with Washington, linebacker Johnathan Vilma with New Orleans, veteran center Jeff Saturday with Indianapolis and quarterback Kerry Collins with Tennessee.

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There are still several high-profile free agents available, but none is more intriguing than Kurt Warner.  After receiving a low-ball offer from Arizona, Warner in serious talks with San Francisco.

The Niners are open to giving Warner a market value contract – two years at $14 million annually – worthy of a guy who took the Cardinals, of all teams, to within one late drive by Pittsburgh of winning a Super Bowl.

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