Originally published by RamsNewswire.com
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith replaced the Los Angeles Rams’ Matthew Stafford on the NFC’s 2024 Pro Bowl Games roster.
No reason was given for Stafford’s withdrawal from the event, though it’s likely due to injury. Stafford injured his hand in the Wild Card Round loss to the Detroit Lions and was seen in discomfort.
Four Rams players were named to the Pro Bowl, but the list of participants is down to Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams as Aaron Donald pulled out due to an undisclosed injury.
It was just the third time Stafford’s been named to a Pro Bowl, and it will be the second time he will not appear for the weekend. The last time Stafford was chosen was in 2021 but he was unable to participate as Los Angeles was playing Super Bowl LVI.
After a slow start to the 2023 season, Stafford found his rhythm throwing the football in the second half of the year and led the Rams to the playoffs. Stafford appeared in 15 games and recorded 3,965 passing yards and 24 touchdowns to 11 interceptions.
Meanwhile, Smith is one of three Seahawks who were added as replacements to the NFC roster. Smith is joined by DK Metcalf, who is replacing Mike Evans and Nick Bellore, who is replacing Jalen Reeves-Maybin.
Stafford isn’t the only NFC quarterback to step down as the Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott elected to sit out the festivities. He was replaced by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Baker Mayfield.
The 2024 Pro Bowl Games kicked off on Thursday with various skills challenges. Nacua was selected as the NFC’s representative for the “Best Catch” event and went up against David Njoku. Meanwhile, Smith participated in the “Precision Passing” challenge alongside Jalen Hurts and Mayfield.
Sunday is the Pro Bowl Games finale with a game of flag football. It will feature four 12-minute quarters and at the end points will be tallied from all the challenges to determine the winning conference.
Stafford’s presence during the weekend will be missed, but the most important thing is to make sure that the veteran is 100 percent healthy for the 2024 season.
Matthew Stafford named finalist for AP Comeback Player of the Year
The 2023 season was a resurgent year for Stafford who was coming off an injury-plagued 2022 campaign. Stafford suffered a spinal contusion and was forced to miss the remainder of last season, but he showed he was back to full strength this year.
For his efforts, Stafford was named a finalist for the AP Comeback Player of the Year Award.
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