HENDERSON, Nev. — Baltimore Ravens backup quarterback Tyler Huntley didn’t ask for an invitation to the Pro Bowl Games, and he certainly wasn’t expecting the jokes told at his expense when he was named.
But that doesn’t mean Huntley would give up making the most of his opportunity.
smiled at by some for his addition as a replacement for the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen, Huntley shrugged off the jokes and savored the opportunity to rub shoulders with the best players in the game.
“It feels like I’m in a movie right now,” Huntley said Thursday night after putting in a solid performance in the precision passing portion of the skill competition. “I’m still recording everything.”
Huntley, who started just four games and threw two touchdowns in relief for injured Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, received the nod when a number of AFC quarterbacks were unable to attend or declined to participate. The list included Allen; Patrick Mahomes, whose Kansas City Chiefs are in the Super Bowl; the Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa, who was recently released from concussion protocol; and the Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow, whose team was eliminated in Sunday’s AFC title game.
This sparked a heated debate on social media about whether Huntley belonged. But Huntley said he managed to avoid interfering in that conversation.
“I’m just looking at my options and where my life is going,” he said. “I just appreciate everything that’s going on. … I’ve met some of the legends. It’s just crazy how it all worked out.”
Among those legends: Ravens Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, who serves as the AFC’s defensive coordinator. Lewis emerged from the dressing room with his arm around Huntley and chatted with him as they made their way onto the field.
Huntley finished second in the precision passing competition, where quarterbacks must hit different targets to earn points. Huntley accumulated 21 points, behind only Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who defeated the event and finished with 31 points.
“It felt good,” Huntley said.
Carr’s performance was pretty impressive, but it could have been home field advantage. The event, held at the Raiders’ training facility, made Carr feel right at home (though he later said he still expects to part ways with the team in the coming weeks).
“I wanted this so badly,” Carr said. “My goal today was to meet them all, so hopefully at some point I’ll come back and do that.”
AFC coach Peyton Manning said: “That’s his setup. I wanted him to go last.
Overall, the AFC dominated the day.
Points scored in the skills competitions that continue on Sunday and precede the flag football portion of the week carry over to Sunday and count towards determining the winners’ conference.
The AFC led 9-3 after winning the precision passing contest, the longest drive and the blitz round that featured a series of challenges.
Been doing this since elementary school😎 https://t.co/127vtdj2kW
— marlonhumphrey.eth (@marlon_humphrey) February 3, 2023
Buffalo Bills safety Jordan Poyer won the longest drive contest with a 320-yard drive early Thursday. Vikings tight end TJ Hockenson finished second with a 316-yard drive.
The NFC’s only win came in dodgeball.
Sunday is yet to come: The continuation of the Best Catch Contest, the Gridiron Gauntlet, Kick Tac Toe, Move the Chains and the Three Flag Football Games.