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Jermaine Petty and Shonn Bell assigned to Quad City

December 4, 2008 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Quad City Steamwheelers News Release

December 04, 2008, (Moline, Ill.) - This week, the af2 league office assigned Jermaine Petty and Shonn Bell to the Quad City Steamwheelers following a successful bid from head coach, Troy Biladeau, signing the two defensive ends to his 2009 roster after winning a long recruiting battle with other af2 powerhouse teams. Now it's up to Petty and Bell to win the battle up front much like they did in their previous voyage with the Steamwheelers in 2006 and 2007 before exploring other opportunities last season.

Adding the two "bookend" pass rushers to a defense already anchored by linebackers Tyus Jackson and Jack Walker, Jr. and complimented with a two-time All-American defensive back in Terrell Fletcher, Steamwheelers fans have good reason to get excited about returning to the days of having a dominating defense.

In 2006, the two combined for 46 tackles, 5 sacks, and 6.5 tackles for loss. In 2007, the duo increased the pressure and recorded 64.5 tackles, 14 sacks, and 22.5 tackles for loss. Add to it, the seven touchdowns they recorded in 2007 on the offensive side of the ball and you have the reason why they are two of the most sought after linemen in the af2.

"That's why I signed them," said head coach Troy Biladeau. "Their productivity dramatically increased from one year to the next and we need that kind of pressure up front on every down if we expect to reach our goals this year. When I took this job, it was a two year deal and after making the playoffs last year, we have been fortunate to sign guys like (Jermaine) Petty and (Shonn) Bell that want to compete for and win a championship."

Both Petty and Bell were fan favorites while they were here and their return should make many fans very happy.

"We're excited to have them back, heck, I'm excited to have them back," stated Shawn Brown, team vice president and general manager. "Everyone knows what we are trying to build here and its' very exciting. There are big expectations for our team and our organization this year. Our fans expect us to win and they want us to get back to playing great defense. Signing these guys is going to help make that happen."

So the question becomes why the Steamwheelers instead of other af2 powerhouses who were also courting the dynamic duo? "That's easy," said Shonn Bell, "the fans!" "This is where we have history, this feels like home for us in the Deuce (af2), and this is where we feel we can win a championship. We want to win a championship here in the Quad Cities!"

Jermaine Petty echoed Bell's sentiments. "It's all about winning. We want to come here and win. We saw what guys were coming here and we feel this could be something good. So I called (coach) Biladeau back and said I wanted to come and play but I wanted to bring Shonn Bell with me and here we are. I guess you can say we are a packaged deal and we are here to win!"

Coach Biladeau added, "I know what they're capable of and I'm glad to have them on our side. Petty brings great leadership to the huddle and Bell has a lot of knowledge about the game and they both can help develop some of our younger guys. The other thing is they are flexible players. Petty has played the mack linebacker position a lot in different schemes and personnel packages and Bell can play on offense pretty well too. That's a huge advantage to have in Arena Football."

While the assignments of Petty and Bell are significant due to their status with the fans and what they bring to the defensive side of the ball, the af2 also assigned two more players to the Steamwheelers: Jason Jones (Illinois State), a 6'4" - 335 lbs. lineman who spent a year with Louisville (af2) and Edward Newton, a 6'1" - 195 lbs. rookie wide receiver from Baylor University.

This past fall, the Steamwheelers adopted "Seeing is Believing" as their 2009 marketing campaign slogan (sponsored by Virdi Eye Clinic). After seeing the roster so far and the latest addition of Petty and Bell, there is a lot to start believing in and right now, it's defense!

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