November 29, 2007 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I)
NEW YORK - All 17 Arena Football League franchises are staying busy this offseason with front-office hires, open tryouts, community activities and much more.
Following is a team-by-team rundown of the latest happenings around the AFL:
Arizona: The Rattlers have set a precedent in professional sports: playoffs or your money back. The team guaranteed their season ticket holders a trip to the playoffs or the team will refund fans\' money.
Chicago: Every Thanksgiving, members of the Chicago Rush coaching staff assist their local Salvation Army locations in distributing holiday food boxes to families in need. This year\'s distribution took place on Tuesday, November 20, with assistant coach BOB MCMILLEN and assistant coach RYAN LEONARD lending a hand.
The Rush announced the signing of All-Arena FB/LB DAN ALEXANDER along with two-time Offensive Player of the Year WR DAMIAN HARRELL (2005, 2006) and QB SHERDRICK BONNER.
Cleveland: The franchise announced in a press conference that it will retain the Gladiators nickname. Cleveland also signed eight new players to the roster including 2005 ADT Defensive Player and Lineman of the Year DL SILAS DEMARY.
Colorado: The Crush have used the free-agency period to re-sign All-Arena Second Team DB RASHAD FLOYD, two-time Kicker of the Year CLAY RUSH (2000, 2003), and 2006 Rookie of the Year WR BEN NELSON.
Columbus: The Columbus Destroyers have signed five new free agents: WR CJ JOHNSON, WR DEREK LEE, WR/LB TREMAINE NEAL, WR CHARLES PAULEY and DL GILLIS WILSON.
Dallas: The Desperados have signed nine free agents including two-time Kicker of the Year REMY HAMILTON (2005, 2006).
Georgia: Force QB CHRIS GRIESEN is currently coaching for the Green Bay Southwest Trojans high school football team in Wisconsin. Special teams and WR/LB coach DIALLEO BURKS serves on the staff of the LaGrange College football team.
The Force will hold their final open tryout of the year on December 1. Top performers are guaranteed an opportunity to showcase their talents at a two-day workout during training camp.
Grand Rapids: The Rampage has signed seven free agents: OL/DL MARCUS KEYS, DL ANTHONY HERRON, DB WILLIAM HAITH, WR ANTHONY HINES, QB JAMES MACPHERSON, C/OL JUAN PORTER, and OL FITU TUUA.
Kansas City: The Brigade has singed four free agents during the offseason, including 2006 ADT Defensive Player of the Year DB JERALD BROWN.
Los Angeles: The Avengers, along with its official partner PADRES Contra El Cancer, held its annual "Harvest for HOPE" Thanksgiving event, providing a free holiday dinner to more than 300 families at the Saban Research Center near Children\'s Hospital of Los Angeles. The Avengers were on hand to help pack food and hand out goodies to children.
New Orleans: The VooDoo selected DB KEON RAYMOND and DL DAMIEN BAUMAN in the Dispersal Draft and acquired free agents WR DERRICK LEWIS and DB LIN-J SHELL.
New York: The Dragons have instituted two new community programs. Pros Assisting Students\' Success ("P.A.S.S.") is designed to reach out to New York\'s youth in a positive way by sending current Dragons players and coaches to speak at middle schools in the area about being a professional athlete and the importance of education.
The New York Dragons "In the Huddle" program is geared towards high school athletic teams. Teams participating are visited by a current player from the Dragons, who speaks about the importance of teamwork, finding a balance between sports and education, the commitment it takes to be a professional athlete and other important issues in sports today.
Orlando: ALAN GOOCH was named the Predators President and General Manager. DL B.J. COHEN and DB DAMON MASON have joined the Predators as free agents.
Philadelphia: Soul co-owner JON BON JOVI, along with the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation, helped to build more than 15 houses for Project H.O.M.E.\'s Homeownership Project. The organization gives low-income families an affordable opportunity to become homeowners and provides job- and home-management training as well. Bon Jovi was able to be a part of the decision-making process as well as provide sponsorship support.
San Jose: ArenaBowl XXI MVP QB MARK GRIEB is enjoying his offseason by spending time with the AchieveKids School. The students have been attending SaberCats practices for the past seven years and Grieb has become known for his lengthy post-practice autograph sessions. Recently, Grieb spoke to the kids about sportsmanship and fielded many well-prepared questions regarding Arena Football.
Tampa Bay: Storm players DB TRACO RACHAL, FB/LB MARVIN BROWN, OL TOM KALEITA, WR TYRONE TIMMONS and QB BRETT DIETZ have been coaching at high school and college football at programs across the country. Dietz, the 2007 Co-Rookie of the Year, was married, as were his teammates ERNEST CERTAIN, KHALID NAZIRUDDIN and B.J. SYMONS during the offseason.
Utah: Blaze OL/DL ROB GATRELL and QB JASON GESSER are coaching high school football in the off-season.