The Good, The Bad and Arena Football
It’s Tuesday night and as we break from the World Series, (Go Montreal) Lets take a moment to talk ARENA FOOTBALL. So many signings this week and so many EXPANSION talk going around. Who’s ready for Arena Football?
From the American Arena League, Arena Football League, National Arena League and some other leagues as well.
Recently, there has been a ton of traffic going on with the NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE (NAL), some good, some bad and some we just can’t tell. After the Merger situation with the NAL and CIF, The Massachusetts Pirates announced that they would return to the NAL, and that is a good thing. But what REALLY happened to the MERGER? RUMOR is it was just that RUMOR.
Then you have the Orlando Predator mess! Granted the Predators were a disaster on and off the field last year. A change had to happen, but will we ever know the real truth about the situation? Let’s hope whomever the new owners are do a great job of bringing CHAMPIONSHIP Caliber football back to Orlando. And WHO is this new group……
And lastly, HOTLANTA Look Out Cause Arena Football is coming back to the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, GA for 2020. The Unknown team Rumored to be the Atlanta Jaguars are RUMORED to be finalizing a deal this week. Well Hello Their people. Add in 2 more teams One of them the Roughriders and the NAL would rock this year!
In Other NAL News:
The Massachusetts Pirates have announced that they will return to the DCU Center in Worcester for the 2020 season.
Pirates’ owner Jawad Yatim has confirmed that the organization has opted into the third year of its agreement with the DCU Center and has accepted the team option for the season ahead.
Yatim said, “We’re look forward to competing at the DCU Center this upcoming season. It’s a place we’ve called home since day one and we’re staying committed to the state of Massachusetts, the city of Worcester and of course Pirate Nation. We’re looking forward to a great season. Go Pirates!”
Over the last two regular seasons the Pirates have a .733 winning percentage at the DCU Center with an 11 and 4 record.
The 2019 NAL Champion Jacksonville Sharks, announced the signings of Offensive lineman and fullback Jaleel Brown, linebacker Fred Williams, Offensive Lineman Derrick Zeigler, Defensive Lineman Jonathan Taylor, All-NAL Linebacker Zack Brown, Defensive Back Tony Goodman and defensive Lineman Aaron Bellazin.
Brown (6’2, 315) enters his second year of arena football after spending his rookie season with Jacksonville Sharks.
Williams played for the Carolina Energy of the American Arena League (AAL) from 2018-2019. Last year he helped Carolina to a perfect 6-0 regular-season record, an AAL Championship appearance, and was named the 2019 AAL Defensive Player of the Year as well as a 2019 AAL All-Star.
Offensive Lineman Derrick Zeigler (6’5,320) enters his third season of arena football and third consecutive season with the Jacksonville Sharks. Zeiglers first two seasons with the Sharks led to massive success for the 6’5 center. Both seasons he earned First Team All-NAL Honors and last season Zeigler became the NAL’s Offensive Lineman of the Year and a NAL Champion. Zeigler attended Northeast Mississippi Community College where he played defensive linemen in eight games and recorded 31 total tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles.
Taylor (6’6, 340) enters his second year with the Jacksonville Sharks after a successful 2019 championship season. As a rookie, Taylor racked up six sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and one safety. Taylor was a key factor on the defensive line as the team’s starting nose guard earning Second Team All-NAL defensive honors.
Brown (6’1,255) signs with the Sharks for his fourth season of arena football. Last season with the Sharks, Brown made an impact on both sides of the ball making 32 tackles, 7.5 sacks, five pass breakups, forced one fumble, and three fumble recoveries. On offense, he was part of the Sharks deep fullback core which included Alstevis Squirewell and Jaleel Brown. As a fullback Zack Brown rushed 20 times for 38 yards and eight touchdowns, including three touchdowns in the postseason. Following the 2019 regular season, Zack Brown earned First Team All-NAL honors as a mac linebacker.
Goodman (6’0,200) signs with the Sharks for his second season of arena football. Last year, Goodman recorded two interceptions in the Sharks secondary and shined as one of the best kick returners in the National Arena League. On special teams, Goodman only played in 10 games but still led the entire NAL in kick return yards (427) and in kick return touchdowns (2) while averaging 21.5 yards per attempt. Prior to joining the Sharks, Goodman played for the Alliance of American Football (AIF) where he was signed by the Arizona Hotshots.
Bellazin (6’2,250) played a key role in the Sharks defense last year recording 17 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss (third-most on the team), nine sacks (second-most on the team), one interception, and one forced fumble.
The Carolina Cobras have signed WR Lamont Bryant and WR Vinny Gregory.
Lamont Bryant (6’5” 229 Morgan St) was a First Team All-MEAC in 2009 and again in 2011. He then moved on to the Carolina Panthers where he was on their practice squad for the 2012 season. Bryant was signed by the Tennessee Titans in 2014 where he was during mini-camps and OTAs before being released. Bryant then went to play in Canada for a couple years before playing with the Massachusetts Pirates in the NAL in 2018, where in eight games, he had 18 receptions for 228 yards and three TDs, as well as another TD rushing for the Pirates. Bryant also played on the defense for the Pirates and had 15.5 tackles and a pass break up.
Vinny Gregory (5’7” 175) comes to the Cobras from Buffalo State University and will be making his professional debut with the Cobras. Gregory started his college career at Erie Community College where he led the team in receptions and yards. He accepted a scholarship to Edinboro University and then finished his senior year at Buffalo State. He has attended the Dream Bowl Combine (top FCS, D1, D2, D3 all-star game and combine). He has attended both the Buffalo Bills Pro Day, as well as the XFL Tampa Showcase.
Over in the AAL,
The South Florida Thunder and Owner Avion Hale announced that the Thunder will be joining the A.A.L. in its inaugural season of 2020. The Thunder goal is to be a strong structured organization with a goal of making history as a 8Man Indoor professional travel team that will be based in Palm Beach County Florida.
The Bloomington Edge indoor football team is preparing to make a comeback in 2020 under new ownership.
The Wells Sports Group, headed by Shane Wells of Indianapolis, has purchased the team with plans to compete next season in the American Arena League (AAL).
The Edge will play in the Midwest Division, which last year included the West Michigan Ironmen, Indianapolis Enforcers and Chicago Aztecs.
The season begins in mid-March and will include 10 regular-season games (five home, five away), followed by the playoffs and a championship game that would be in July.
Wells said his group is working with management of Grossinger Motors Arena to return to the venue the team played from its home games its inception in 2006 (as the Bloomington Extreme) through 2018.