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Desperados WR/DB Pettis Claimed by Saints

June 20, 2003 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Dallas Desperados News Release

Dallas Desperados WR/DB Will Pettis was claimed today off of the NFL's Procedural Recallable Waiver wire by the New Orleans Saints and will join the Saints as they prepare for the opening of training camp on July 25. The Dallas Cowboys originally signed Pettis on June 10, but they had to place him on Procedural Recallable Waivers as per NFL rules regarding teams signing members of their own AFL teams. He had to remain on the waiver wire for 10 calendar days, giving any of the other 31 NFL teams an opportunity to claim his rights.

Pettis made a quick impression in his first AFL season, earning All-Rookie and All-Arena second team honors after establishing a club record with 1,562 all-purpose yards. In reaching that total, he posted 798 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns on 69 receptions, 640 yards on 32 kickoff returns (20.0 avg.), 93 yards on four missed field goal returns (23.3 avg.), 22 yards on three interceptions and nine yards and four scores on 14 rushes.

"Will Pettis did a great job in his rookie season for the Desperados," said Desperados Head Coach Joe Avezzano. "Given the time necessary to develop, Will can play in any league. He is a quality, coachable young man who can only get better."

In addition to establishing the Desperados single-season all-purpose yards record, Pettis led the team with three interceptions while totaling 34.5 tackles and four passes defensed on the defensive side of the ball. In all, he led the club in interceptions, kickoff returns, missed field goal returns and missed field goal return average while ranking third in receptions and fourth in rushing.

Pettis' offensive contributions helped the Desperados offense lead the league in total offensive yards-per-game (300.9) while ranking fifth in scoring average (56.9). Dallas was also one of only three teams in the league to have three receivers with at least 69 catches – Dialleo Burks (102), Andy McCullough (96) and Pettis (69) – Colorado and Grand Rapids being the other two teams. The play of Pettis helped propel the Desperados to a 10-6 record, the Central Division championship and a No. 5 seed in the AFL's Drive to ArenaBowl XVII.

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