Ninjas Announce Final Roster
Tentative Depth Chart Prepared for Game One
New Haven, Conn. - The New Haven Ninjas have finalized their roster for week one of the 2002 arenafootball2Ô schedule. The team brought 40 players into day one of training camp March 18 and cut down to a 30-man roster on March 20. The final 21 will be set at a 19-man active, two-man inactive roster for the game.
"I'm very pleased with our final 21," commented Head Coach Rick Buffington on his squad. "We're one of the bigger teams in the league and hope to use that to our advantage."
Phil Stambaugh highlights the inaugural Ninja roster. Stambaugh spent the last 10 weeks of the 2001 NFL season with the Jacksonville Jaguars after being the starting quarterback for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe. The Lehigh alum is scheduled to be the starting quarterback for the Ninjas when the team travels to Rochester for the season opener, Saturday, April 6.
The defensive backfield is led by former Detroit Lion Andre Dixon. Dixon's NFL experience will be vital for the Ninjas in a league that averages over 90 points a game.
The squad has eight players with local ties including scheduled starters OS Chris Ortiz (Waterbury/Southern CT State), OL/DL Dan Hayes (U. New Haven), OL/DL Ken Biggs (Wallingford), OL/DL Tom Madigan (Southern CT State), Damon Richardson (New Haven, Southern CT State) and KR Ketric Barnes (U. New Haven).
"The local talent we have is outstanding," said Buffington. "Our front three are all local and other players like Barnes and (Steve) Darby came in and really made an impression."
Shelton native and former UConn Husky Darby was a late find for the Ninjas, being brought in during the second week of camp. In a limited amount of time, the lineman made a big enough impression to create a roster spot for himself.
The Ninjas' home opener is Saturday, April 13 at the New Haven Coliseum. Tickets are available by calling 203-503-6011, by visiting the Coliseum box office, Ticketmaster by phone 203-624-0033, ticketmaster.com, or at any Ticketmaster location. For additional team news and information, fans should visit the Ninjas' website at www.newhavenninjas.com.
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