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Make it a dozen

January 17, 2006 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Memphis Xplorers News Release

SOUTHAVEN --- In what is believed to be a record, the 2005 Arena Cup Champion Memphis Xplorers of af2 have now had a total of 12 players sign with AFL clubs for the 2006 season. WR/DB Deon Giddens signed last week with the Nashville Kats.

"I am truly excited for Deon to get this opportunity," Xplorers Head Coach Danton Barto said. "It is a well deserved opportunity because Deon sacrificed as much as any player I have coached last season. Deon is a playmaker and I expect him to make plays for the Nashville Kats."

In his rookie season out of Tennessee State, the 5-11, 185 pound Giddens played in all 16 regular season games for the Xplorers. He finished third on the team in rushing yards with 28 on 7 carries, had 12 receptions for 151 yards and 1 touchdown receiving. His 12.6 yards per catch average was 4th on the team. Defensively, Giddens was tied for third on the team with 5 interceptions, was second in solo tackles (44) and total tackles (52.5). He also had 16 pass break ups, a fumble recovery for a touchdown and a forced fumble.

"If you look, Deon was extremely productive for the amount of time he spent on the field. He could have been a star on any other team if he played just defensive specialist, but because we used Khreem Smith as a defensive specialist on the line, we had to rotate 5 players at two-way. He sacrificed his personal stats for the benefit of the team."

Giddens might not be the last Xplorer to move up and sign. OL/DL Phillip Perry is getting a training camp try out this week with the Chicago Rush and WR/DB Scott Cunningham is doing the same with the New York Dragons.

In other Xplorers news, the team has been assigned two more players for this season by the af2 office, one of which will be making his return to Memphis.

Kicker Steven Azar is set to return after being the team's main kicker on the 2005 af2 championship team. The Northern Illinois product made eight of 16 field goals last season and was 57 of 72 on PAT's. He also had 27 touchbacks on 88 kickoffs. In the playoffs, Azar was three for four on field goal attempts including a franchise record tying 51 yarder versus Amarillo in the Conference Semifinals.

The Xplorers have also been assigned WR/DB Erick Franklin from Louisiana Tech.

The Memphis Xplorers...2005 ArenaCup Champions

The Xplorers will defend their Arena Cup Championship in 2006 and you can be in on the action. The season begins on April 1 at Tennessee Valley with the home opener on April 8 versus the Florida Firecats.

Season Tickets are available now and begin as low as $56. Don't miss all the action of the "50-Yard Indoor War." For season ticket information call the Xplorers office at 662-342-1755.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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