While the NFL’s Pro Bowl has long been acknowledged as somewhat of a joke, the New England Patriots aren’t interested in playing along. While seven players from the team were named to the all-star game, none of them will be attending due to injuries.

Tom Brady will not be playing due to an ankle injury;  Rob Gronkowski has knee and back issues.  Jamie Collins also has a back injury while Chandler Jones, who was involved in a mysterious medical incident earlier this month, has an injured toe and abdomen. Matthew Slater hurt his shin and wants to spend time with his new baby. Stephen Gostkowski and Malcom Butler have also withdrawn for unspecified reasons.

The Patriots aren’t alone in their choice to avoid the Pro Bowl. There have be a total of 133 players named to the game this year due to the large number of injury withdrawals, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. 

The issue arrises from the fact that the Pro Bowl takes place at the end of the season, while other sports have their all-star events near their season’s midpoint. While it’s unlikely that any NFL owners will consent to changing the league’s schedule, that could lessen the amount of players who are injured at the time of the game.

Photo: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots tries to evade a tackle by Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos in the first half in the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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