April 3, 2012 - Arena Football League (AFL) - Kansas City Command
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - The Kansas City Command announced Tuesday the addition of three players to the team's roster, quarterbacks Matt Gutierrez (pron. GUTE-ee-AIR-ez) and Zach Eskridge and receiver/linebacker Bradly Chavez (pron. SHUH-vez). The arrival of the quarterbacks signals a new direction for Kansas City at the position three games into the 2012 season. Chavez, one of the few players left in the Arena Football League equally comfortable on offense and defense, was a fan favorite playing for the Command last year and now returns to the team for the final 15 games of the season.
"We just felt like we had to do something," said Command coach Danton Barto. "We weren't scoring points and in Arena Football you're not going to win if you can't consistently put the ball in the end zone. When something's not working you've got to move on and improve your football team."
Guttierrez (6-4, 230, Idaho State) was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs active roster in 2009 as well as the New England Patriots in 2007 and 2008. He was most recently in training camp last fall with the Washington Redskins. Guttierrez has appeared in six NFL regular season games.
Gutierrez wrapped up his college career at Idaho State after playing three years at Michigan. He was named Idaho State's Outstanding Newcomer of the Year in 2006, throwing for 2,237 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was named the starter at Michigan heading into the 2004 season, but a shoulder injury suffered in practice resulted in him not attempting a pass that year.
He played his prep football at California powerhouse De La Salle High School. He threw for over 5,000 yards and 64 touchdowns with just nine interceptions in his career. De La Salle went 50-0 and won four straight national championships during his four-year high school career.
"He's got a lot to learn about our offense, but him being in camp with the Rattlers helps him understand the game," Barto said. "He's a smart guy and I think he'll adjust quickly."
Eskridge (6-4, 220, Midwestern State) started 31 games in a three-year career at Midwestern State in Wichita Falls. He finished his career with numerous school records including passing yards (6,953), touchdown passes (64), completions (570), passing attempts (867), completion percentage (65.7), pass efficiency rating (152.9), 300-yard passing games (6) and 200-yard passing games (21). He also owns numerous Midwestern State single-season records.
As a junior, Eskridge had his best season, leading the Mustangs to their first Lone Star Conference championship. He was named a finalist for the prestigious Harlon Hill Award and was the Lone Star Conference South Division Offensive Player of the Year, setting school records with 3,295 passing yards and 29 touchdowns.
He started his career at TCU before transferring to Midwestern State after his redshirt freshman season.
Eskridge signed a rookie free agent contract last fall and participated in training camp with the Dallas Cowboys. His grandfather, Jack Eskridge, was the first-ever equipment manager for the Cowboys from 1960-72 and helped design the team's famous star logo.
"For a guy that's never even seen Arena Football, it's been shocking how well he is picking up the game," Barto said. "He understands what people are trying to do. I think with both of these quarterbacks, they're willing to take what defenses are giving them."
Barto indicated evaluations of the new quarterbacks would continue throughout the week and gave no timeline on announcing a starter for Saturday's game at Chicago.
Chavez (6-2, 220, UAB) split time at wide receiver and jack linebacker last year for the Command, his rookie season in the Arena Football League. Despite never completely committing to one position, Chavez finished as the fourth-leading receiver and the fourth-leading tackler on the year. He had 515 receiving yards on the season and his 14 touchdown catches was the third-best total on the squad. He tallied 49 tackles and two sacks defensively.
Chavez played three seasons in af2, including one with the Manchester Wolves where he was named Ironman of the Year in 2008. Chavez led Manchester in receptions (86), receiving touchdowns (28), total touchdowns (33) and scoring (202) and finished third on the squad in receiving yards (1,147).
"With Chavez, we get a guy that is experienced in the game and is a winning football player," Barto said. "I think his attitude will be good for us in the locker room. He's as tough a player as you'll find."
Next up for the Command is a 7 p.m. (CDT) road test with Central Division rival Chicago on Saturday, April 7 at the AllState Arena. The game will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and Ustream.tv/Kansascitycommand. The Rush currently lead the Central Division at 3-0 after a one-point win at Iowa last Saturday. The Command won in Chicago last year.