L.A. Avengers open training camp for 2002 season
Only half of the 30 players in camp played for the Avengers last year
LOS ANGELES -- In preparation for their third season of play in the Arena Football League, the Los Angeles Avengers will open training camp on Tuesday, March 26, with a pair of practices. Under the watchful eye of new head coach Ed Hodgkiss, the Avengers will hold nine practice sessions at the Avenger Training Facility in Culver City (including a scrimmage on Saturday, March 30), before traveling to Bakersfield, Calif., for three additional days of two-a-day practices.
The 2002 squad has a distinct new look as only 15 of the 30 players currently on the roster played in at least one game for the Avengers last year. Quarterback Tony Graziani, offensive specialist Chris Jackson and defensive specialist Mark Ricks lead the way among the returning veterans, who will be complemented by several newly acquired free agents, including a pair of "All-Arena" performers, wide receiver-linebacker Greg Hopkins and fullback-linebacker Chad Dukes.
Last week, the Avengers had their "backs and receivers" in for three days of mini camp and cut four players over the weekend to reach the 30-man training camp limit.
"Coming out of mini camp, I was really excited that the skill guys (QB, OS, DS, WR-LB and WR-DB) showed that they are working hard," Hodgkiss said. "I was impressed by the talent level that we have assembled here as a coaching staff. Now, it will be good to add the big guys (OL-DL and FB-LB) in there. Everybody seems to be in good shape and ready to go."
After playing two preseason games - April 4, vs. the Georgia Force, in Bakersfield, Calif., and April 12 at the Chicago Rush - the Avengers will have to cut down to a roster of 24 active players.
The Avengers open the 2002 regular-season (the AFL's 16th) on Friday, April 19, at STAPLES Center against the New York Dragons at 7:30 p.m. All fans in attendance will receive a free Avenger T-shirt.
Avenger season tickets, which include all seven home games played at STAPLES Center, are now on sale and can be purchased over the telephone at (888) AVENGERS or online at www.laavengers.com. Each home game features great promotional giveaways (including three "Bobblehead Nights") and post-game autograph sessions.
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