The Oakland Raiders led this NFL with seven Pro Bowl selections this season, as quarterback Derek Carr, wide receiver Amari Cooper, offensive linemen Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele and Rodney Hudson, defensive end Khalil Mack and safety Reggie Nelson were all invited to play in the game that will take place next Sunday at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
The number of Raiders that will actually play in the game is dwindling though, as Carr became the first to bow out understandably so considering he is recovering from a broken fibula.
Three other Raiders have also decided not to play, as Penn is still dealing with the knee injury that made him miss the team’s postseason loss to the Houston Texans, the first game Penn missed in his 10-year career. Cooper and Mack have also decided not to play, as they are dealing with minor injuries.
Osemele and Nelson might be the only ones that end up actually playing if Hudson, who suffered an ankle injury in the postseason game, also opts not to play.
Many Pro Bowlers throughout the league have decided not to play in the game, as it is just not worth the risk of an injury to play in a game with no meaning. In last year’s Pro Bowl Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert suffered an ankle injury that kept him out until Week 8 of this season, so teams and players would like to avoid that risk at all costs.