by Fran Stuchbury
April 14, 2016 - Arena Football League (AFL)
OurSports Central contributor Fran Stuchbury interviewed Jacksonville Sharks wide receiver Roger "Spiderman" Jackson following the Sharks' 59-41 victory over the Philadelphia Soul at the Wells Fargo Center at Philadelphia Monday. Jackson is playing in his second season in the AFL, his first with Jacksonville. After two games this season Jackson has caught six passes for 37 yards and two touchdowns. In Jackson's first season in the AFL for the New Orleans VooDoo last year, he caught 74 passes for a rookie team record 924 yards and 16 touchdowns. Jackson played two years with the Trenton Freedom of the Professional Indoor Football League prior to New Orleans signing him. In 2014 Jackson topped the Freedom with 59 catches for 730 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was named the PIFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Fran Stuchbury: Roger, you must have been happy with the team's big victory over the Philadelphia Soul. How did you like setting the pace for the team, scoring on the team's opening drive by catching a nine-yard pass from Sharks quarterback Tommy Grady?
Roger "Spiderman" Jackson: It was definitely a good job. Grady did some scrambling, I had to do the same to get open, too, get in the end zone catch to the touchdown pass and get the team off to a good pace.
FS: How do you like having Tommy Grady as your quarterback? He seems to do a great job spreading the ball around to all the Sharks wide receivers.
RJ: Tommy is a blessing; he is the best quarterback I ever played with. It's a blessing to learn so much from him and he has made me a better player. Anytime I am open Tommy will find me and get the football to me.
FS: Are you happy with the Sharks Offensive Coordinator Raymond Philyaw? How has he been doing running the Sharks offense so far?
RJ: He has done a very good job. We have wide receivers Tiger Jones, Joe Hills and London Crawford that all play an important part in the offense. All of them have great personalities. I'm doing my job by getting open to catch the ball when I can.
FS: With the AFL going down from 12 teams last season to eight teams this season, it must say a lot about your skills to be on an AFL roster.
RJ: It's definitely a blessing especially with the AFL being cut by one-third. There are a lot of guys who don't have jobs now. I'm happy to be doing what I love and that is playing football.
FS: You seem to be one of the most fan friendly players in the AFL. I just saw you spend a lot of time signing autographs and getting pictures taken with Soul fans who came to the game. Do you make a habit of doing this after every AFL game you play? The fans seem to love you in your "Spiderman" shirt.
RJ: Like I said I am from New Orleans; I didn't have everything I always wanted but I have passion. I have heat and I love this game. I love the kids that come to the AFL game. I appreciate them a lot.
FS: What do you have to do to improve your game to move up to a higher football league like the CFL or the NFL?
RJ: I guess they have to find me. I have been doing what I have to do. Coming from a small school, Arkansas Tech, they may not have looked into me. Hopefully a scout from a NFL or CFL team will find me.
FS: How was your experience playing in the Honda Center home of the LA KISS last week?
RJ: It was an amazing setting; the LA KISS home crowd was very good. It was the first game of the year; they had a pre-game KISS concert for the fans. It was a very exciting atmosphere. I always wanted to play there; I never played there before.
FS: For the fans that haven't watched an Arena Football game on television why should they?
RJ: When you watch this game, the fan interaction is outstanding. The fans feel so close to the game. It is one of the best games to watch. If more fans watch on television that will help the AFL grow.
Read Fran's previous interview with Jackson - The OSC Interview: New Orleans VooDoo WR Roger "Spiderman" Jackson
Images from this story
Fran Stuchbury with Roger "Spiderman" Jackson