2K un-retires pros for All-Pro Football 2K8

Upcoming NFL-free football from 2K Sports will feature Hall of Famers Barry Sanders, Johnny Unitas, OJ Simpson, and...Rush?

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When 2K Sports announced that it would be going back to the gridiron without an NFL license, many wondered who would fill out the game's rosters. Because Electronic Arts currently holds the exclusive rights to the NFL, 2K can't put any players or teams currently associated with the league in the game.

As soon as the game's name--All-Pro Football 2K8--was revealed, fans began to speculate that 2K would include retired players, a feature that was a part of an info leak earlier this month. To do this, the game maker would have to approach each former player separately and sign them to individual contracts.

It appears as though 2K has been doing a lot of wheeling and dealing. Today, the publisher not only confirmed that there will be past NFL legends in the game, but also that there will be more than 240 of them.

Time to dust off the Ickey shuffle...
Time to dust off the Ickey shuffle...

Among the retired players to be featured in the game are Joe Montana, Dick Butkus, Warren Moon, John Elway, Barry Sanders, Johnny Unitas, Archie Manning, Gale Sayers, Ickey Woods, Bart Starr, Mike Ditka, and Jerry Rice. A list of players that made the cut for the game is posted on the All-Pro Football 2K8 Web site.

The list features a few eyebrow-raising inclusions and some glaring omissions. Among the more controversial players in the game is OJ Simpson, who has had few licensing deals since his infamous 1995 trial for the murder of two people, of which he was found not guilty. Some pros that--so far--apparently won't be making their comeback on consoles are Tecmo-Bowl favorite Bo Jackson and Jim Brown, considered by some to be the greatest player of all time.

But just because former 49ers Roger Craig, Joe Montana, and Jerry Rice are in the game, it doesn't mean that they have to play together. Through team customization, players can make up dream teams of former players, allowing the pros to play against their former teammates or even against others decades younger or older than them.

...and that old Rush T-shirt.
...and that old Rush T-shirt.

In keeping with the theme of resurrecting the players of years past, the game's soundtrack will be loaded with remixes of classic artists by "an all-pro producer." Now playing on the game's Web site is a remix of Rush's "Tom Sawyer" by mash-up specialist DJ Z-Trip.

All-Pro Football 2K8 will be released this summer for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. For more information, read GameSpot's previous coverage.

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