March 18, 2017 - Arena Football League (AFL) - Tampa Bay Storm
TAMPA BAY - With the second day of training camp in the books, the Storm turned its focus to tomorrow. The day the entire team has been waiting for. The day in which the team puts the pads on for the first time since August of last year.
"It'll feel great putting on those pads," said wide receiver Kendrick Ings. "This is a contact sport so you don't get a true feel of the game until you get those pads on."
Putting the pads on breeds excitement in the locker room. With them, the team will be going live for the first time in over six months. This is the time of camp where the players can go full speed and really begin to simulate in-game conditions.
"This is the first day of practice," said defensive lineman Antron Dillon. "Putting pads on is really the first day of practice. This is what we've been looking forward to."
With the addition of the pads, it also gives the players an opportunity to showcase their skills and separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
"When you put the pads on and get physical, that's when you'll see the cream of the crop," said Dillon.
From here on out, the rest of camp will be about learning and simulating game conditions. It's go time for the Storm and there is no turning back.
Coach's Perspective: "We're going to grow every day as a team," said head coach Ron James. "The team mentality is, no matter what the situation is and no matter what your temperament is, you will overcome."
Quote of the Day: "It's going to be a great feeling putting those pads on," said defensive back Cortez Stubbs. "We'll be able to really see who wants to come out and play and make this team."
Welcome to The Storm: The team acquired offensive lineman Joe Kaleta and defensive back Damond Smith.
Kaleta (6-foot-7, 315 lbs., Coastal Carolina) joins the Storm after spending time with the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League. He began his collegiate career at Washington State University before settling in at Coastal Carolina. The Utica, NY native saw action in several games for the Chanticleers at multiple positions.
Smith (5-foot-11, 185 lbs., South Alabama) enters his rookie season in the Arena Football League. The Ecorse, Michigan native began his professional career in 2013 when he played for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. He also spent time in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals.
Player Spotlight: Today's player spotlight is on defensive back Cortez Stubbs. The four-year veteran joined the Storm in 2016 and quickly became one of the team's most consistent leaders. He led the team with 80.5 total tackles, three interceptions, three fumble recoveries and 13 pass breakups. During the first round of the 2016 postseason versus the Philadelphia Soul, Stubbs returned an interception 15 yards for the score.
During today's practice, Stubbs continued to show leadership skills by rallying his fellow defensive backs and leading by example. He capped off practice with two interceptions.
The Five-Time World Champion Tampa Bay Storm will enter its 30th season in the Arena Football League in 2017. For more specific details regarding single-game pricing and availability, please contact the Storm ticket office at 813.301.6600 or visit www.tampabaystorm.com. Season tickets can be purchased by visiting TampaBayStorm.com or by calling 813.301.6600. For group sales, fans can contact 813.301.6900. Additionally, fans and sponsors can follow the Storm on Facebook (Tampa Bay Storm) or Twitter (@tampabaystorm) for up to date news and exclusive content.