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Erie Explosion Players Advance to the Arena Football League

July 7, 2011 - Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL) - Erie Explosion News Release

(Erie, PA) - The Arena League has wasted no time in recognizing the top level talent from the 2011 Erie Explosion Roster. Following a mid-season rule change allowing the signing of indoor players to AFL contracts, several members of the 2011 SIFL Northeast Division Champions have received opportunities to advance their career to the next level.

Offensive Lineman Joe Blanks, a graduate of Erie Cathedral Prep and Winston Salem State, has been signed by the Cleveland Gladiators. Blanks was a starter on the offensive line for Erie from 2010-2011, has also spent time with the Dallas Vigilantes of the AFL. Blanks was part of an offensive line that paved the way for the highest scoring team in the SIFL during the 2011 season, and led the SIFL in passing yardage for the second consecutive year. Blanks reflected on his time in Erie, "It was great to be back playing in my hometown again and we enjoyed another great season in Erie. I am very thankful for the opportunity that I have received with the Cleveland Gladiators and I look forward to making the most of this chance I have been given." Blanks is expected to be active when the Cleveland Gladiators travel to the Philadelphia Soul this Friday night on the NFL Network.

One of the most dynamic players in all of indoor football, 2011 All-SIFL Wide Receiver Kevin Concepcion a product of the University at Buffalo has been signed by the Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League. Concepcion had one of the top seasons by any receiver in professional indoor history as he accounted for 47 touchdowns, 1,502 yards, and 110 receptions during the 2011 regular season. A threat to score whenever he touched the football, Concepcion will take his talents to the American Conference leading Sharks where he will play with one of the all-time arena football greats in QB Aaron Garcia. "Playing for the Erie Explosion was a tremendous experience for me, the fans were the best and the city welcomed me as one of their own. Coach Liotta and his offensive system put me in a position to make plays each week, and I had some great teammates including our talented quarterback Adam (DiMichele). I am very glad I made the decision to play in Erie this season as it opened doors for me to have an opportunity at the next level. I am working very hard right now to make my mark with the Jacksonville Sharks who are a tremendous organization. I look forward to my challenges ahead and the opportunities they will bring, but I know I will always have a home in Erie," commented Concepcion.

Erie Explosion linebacker Brenton Brady a product of Alfred, has been signed to a contract by the Utah Blaze of the Arena Football League. Brady an indoor veteran, with experience in the IFL with the Rochester Raiders, and the AF2 with the Mahoning Valley Thunder and Albany Conquest, led the Explosion in sacks with 9.5 during the 2011 campaign. Brady finished the season with 35 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles from his linebacker position.

Explosion Head Coach Shawn Liotta is pleased with the interest that his players have received from the AFL, " We had a very talented roster in 2011 and I am very happy for these guys who have worked so hard this season for the City of Erie to have an opportunity to move up to the next level. A big part of what we try to do here is to provide a vehicle for players to advance their careers, I am extremely proud of this group of players, and I am very thankful to all of the organizations in the Arena League who have given them an opportunity to display their skills."

These may not be the last Erie Explosion players to receive an opportunity to advance to the next level. Multiple teams have expressed interest in several other Explosion players including highly coveted Quarterback Adam DiMichele who has declined several Arena Football League offers as he prepares himself for his next professional football opportunity. Several other Explosion players have been offered workout opportunities or are currently reviewing contract offers from Arena Football League franchises. For more information on the 2011 SIFL Northeast Division Champion Erie Explosion, visit www.erieexplosion.com

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