HONOLULU — At least one key NFL executive thinks play improved at the Pro Bowl this year: Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Goodell said Monday during a one-hour question and answer session on Reddit that he thought the game improved from last year, when players were clearly not trying and were booed by fans in Hawaii.
The NFC dominated the AFC 62-35 on Sunday in a game that had some highlight-quality plays but that quickly became lopsided.
“I watched the game and noticed the improved quality of the game,” Goodell said.
Goodell said he appreciates the commitment from players to make the game better. He says he plans to get detailed input and comment from players over the next few weeks.
The league has said it plans to decide on the future of the Pro Bowl by April, when next season’s schedule is expected to be released.
“We need to continually work to make our game better for the fans,” Goodell said.
Ex-49er charged in beating
SAN FRANCISCO — Former San Francisco 49er Kwame Harris has been charged with felony domestic violence and assault charges from an August beating involving a former boyfriend, a prosecutor and defense lawyer said.
Following a pretrial hearing in the case Monday, a San Mateo County judge set a late April trial date for Harris, an offensive tackle who played five seasons with the 49ers and one season with the Oakland Raiders, Assistant District Attorney Al Serrato said.
The charges stem from an altercation outside a Menlo Park restaurant between Harris, 30, and Dimitri Geier, who suffered several facial fractures that required surgery, Serrato said.
Although a handful of former NFL players have come out as gay, none has while still wearing a uniform. Defense lawyer Alin Cintean said Harris, who played for Stanford before he was drafted by the 49ers in 2003 and has gone back to school to finish his undergraduate degree, identifies as gay, but “is not very public about it.”
Grigson named top executive
INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson has been selected the Sporting News’ NFL executive of the year.
The publication announced the selection Monday after Grigson edged Denver Broncos executive vice president John Elway 9-8 in a poll of NFL coaches and executives.
Grigson was the architect behind the Colts’ return to the playoffs this year after a 2-14 finish a year ago. He took Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck in the first round to lead a draft class that also included Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, T.Y. Hilton, Vick Ballard and LaVon Brazill.
Grigson also had to rebuild a team that lost Peyton Manning, defensive captains Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt, tight ends Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme, receiver Pierre Garcon and center Jeff Saturday over the offseason.
Jaguars add, keep assistants
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars hired Todd Wash as defensive line coach, Luke Butkus as assistant offensive line coach and Tony Sorrentino as offensive quality control coach.
New coach Gus Bradley also retained four assistants: strength and conditioning coordinator Tom Myslinski, assistant strength and conditioning coach Josh Hingst, strength assistant Cedric Scott and defensive assistant Brandon Blaney.
Wash and Bradley were in Seattle together last season.
They also worked together at North Dakota State (2002-03) and at Tampa Bay (2007).
Butkus spent two seasons (2010-11) with Bradley in Seattle. He served as offensive line coach at his alma mater, Illinois, last season.
Sorrentino is entering his first season in the NFL.
Lions hire Xanders to front office
ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions are attempting to improve their front office by hiring senior personnel executive Brian Xanders.
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said Monday he’s thrilled to have a person with Xanders’ experience working within the organization.
Xanders was general manager of the Denver Broncos before parting ways with one year left on his contract following a meeting in May 2012 with executive vice president John Elway. He didn’t have final say on roster decisions in Denver, and he won’t in Detroit.
Xanders was hired by the Broncos as assistant GM under coach Mike Shanahan in 2008 and was promoted to general manager a year later.
He spent his first 14 seasons in the NFL in various capacities with the Atlanta Falcons.