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NFL notebook: Rice selects Saints QB Brees with 1st Pro Bowl pick

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Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, 7:15 p.m.

NFL great Jerry Rice picked New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn as the anchors of his Pro Bowl team.

Rice made the selections Tuesday in Hawaii after winning a coin toss against Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders.

The decision left Sanders with Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles and Houston defensive end J.J. Watt.

The toss and selections start a new process for the NFL in selecting this year's Pro Bowl team. Rice and Sanders planned to select 11 players each among offensive and defensive linemen, punters, fullbacks and special teamers. The rest of the players will be picked Wednesday during a draft aired live on the NFL Network.

• Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said the team is willing to use the franchise tag on tight end Jimmy Graham, ESPN reported. The decision could start an argument over whether the pending free agent should be officially considered a tight end or a wide receiver. The franchise-tag salaries last year were $10.5 million for a receiver and $6 for a tight end.

• Saints assistant Joe Lombardi, the grandson of former Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, was hired as the Lions' offensive coordinator.

• Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase has told the Browns not to wait for him. The team is moving forward with its coaching search and was scheduled to conduct a second interview with Buffalo defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Pettine is at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., with other members of Buffalo's staff.

• The jury deciding the intoxication manslaughter case against former Cowboys player Josh Brent finished its first day of deliberations without reaching a verdict. Jurors deliberated for about three-and-a-half hours Tuesday and are expected to continue discussing it Wednesday.

• Minnesota's Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit challenging the funding plan for a new Vikings football stadium, eliminating a legal obstacle that threatened a last-minute derailment of the project.

• Former NFL player Irving Fryar and his mother pleaded not guilty to charges that they conspired to steal more than $690,000 through a mortgage scam.

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