Arena Football League Continues League Growth with Introduction of the Oregon Blackbears Franchise

November 11, 2023 - Arena Football League (AFL3) - Oregon Blackbears News Release

Former University of Oregon star & New York Giants standout Kayvon Thibodeaux to Lead Ownership Group with Chuck Jones Tapped as Team's Head Coach

Today, the Arena Football League (AFL) introduced the Oregon Blackbears as a brand-new, expansion franchise, which serves as the latest example of the league's growth into new markets.

The ownership team will be led by former University of Oregon star and current New York Giants standout linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux. Additionally, the Blackbears will play all of its home games at the Salem Pavillion Arena.

"Oregon is renowned for having a rabid football fanbase, so we're absolutely thrilled to bring a new franchise to this market," AFL Commissioner Lee Hutton said. "There's no better person to lead the Oregon Blackbears than a true Oregon star like Kayvon who understands the fans' insatiable appetite for success."

Thibodeaux shined during his playing days at the University of Oregon, where he was named the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2019, captured the Morris Trophy in 2020, and was voted a Unanimous All-American in 2021. It paved the way for the New York Giants to draft the linebacker with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Under Thibodeaux's stewardship, Chuck Jones will be appointed as the team's head coach. Jones played college football at the University of Kansas and spent 11 seasons playing indoor football for various teams like the Kent Predators, the Everett Hawks, the Tri-Cities Fever, and the Spokane Shock.

The announcement comes after the league previously introduced a multitude of franchises, such as the lowa Rampage, Wichita Regulators, Salina Liberty, The Southwest Kansas Storm, Rapid City Marshals, Albany Firebirds, Washington, Orlando Predators, Billings Outlaws and West Texas Desert Hawks.

For more information on the Oregon Blackbears team, please visit https:/ or follow them on Instagram and Twitter.

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