Rampage Acquire Three Veterans for Dolezel
Grand Rapids, Mich. - The Grand Rapids Rampage of the Arena Football League on Tuesday received wide receiver/linebacker Sedrick Robinson and linemen Paul LaQuerre (luh-CARE) and Hardy Mitchell in trade from the Las Vegas Gladiators, in exchange for quarterback Clint Dolezel.
Robinson, one of the AFL's top young return specialists and receivers, ranked among the league's leaders in all-purpose yardage and kickoff returns last season. LaQuerre, considered to be among the best centers in the league, was selected as the Gladiators' 2003 Lineman of the Year, while Mitchell has gained a reputation as a solid pass rusher and blocker during his five seasons in the league. The trio helped the Gladiators boast the fifth-best defense in the AFL last season.
"This organization is indebted to Clint for the role he played in our ArenaBowl XV championship in 2001, and the manner in which he represented the Rampage in the community," said head coach Bob Cortese. "However, the results of our last two seasons have shown that it takes much more than just a great quarterback to win, especially under the restraints of a salary cap. We think we have significantly upgraded our team by acquiring two of the AFL's premier players in Robinson and LaQuerre, as well as a steady lineman in Mitchell."
In his third AFL season in 2003, Robinson, a 5'10", 185-pounder from Kentucky Wesleyan, finished sixth in the AFL in all-purpose yardage (2,399), tied for sixth in rushing touchdowns (nine), tied for fifth in kickoff returns (73), was fifth in kickoff return yardage (1,581), tenth in kickoff return average (21.7), and placed third by returning four kickoffs for touchdowns. His 61 receptions and 608 receiving yards ranked second on the Gladiators, and he added 26 tackles, two interceptions, a pass breakup and three fumble recoveries on defense. Las Vegas' best two-way player, Robinson was named Ironman of the Game a team-high five times.
In just 38 AFL regular season games, Robinson has compiled 5,799 all-purpose yards (152.6 per game) with 57 total touchdowns. He began his AFL career with the Houston ThunderBears in 2001, earning AFL All-Rookie honors before being selected by the Gladiators with the second pick in the 2002 dispersal draft.
"Sedrick was the key to this deal," said Cortese. "He's a dynamic, exciting returner and receiver who is, in our opinion, already one of the best players in the league."
LaQuerre posted career highs in all defensive categories last season, but his impact was most felt on offense as the team's starting center. Las Vegas averaged 21.6 yards per game on the ground, good for fourth in the AFL, and its 34 rushing scores were second-most in the league, with the 6'2", 290-pound Boston College alum leading the way.
Mitchell, a 6'4", 290-pound lineman from the University of Buffalo, made earlier career stops in Houston, Milwaukee, Toronto and Buffalo, before spending three games with Las Vegas last season. Defensively, he has 30 tackles and five sacks in 41 career AFL games.
The Rampage defeated the Gladiators by a 69-21 count on April 13, 2003. In the game, Robinson grabbed a team-high seven balls for 93 yards, added 108 kickoff return yards (201 all-purpose yards) and posted three solo stops, while LaQuerre had 2.5 tackles. Mitchell was still on Buffalo's roster, but in the season opener against the Rampage he posted a tackle and helped hold Grand Rapids without a sack.
Position (AFL Experience): WR/LB (3 seasons)
Ht./Wt.: 5'10"/185 lbs.
D.O.B.: May 1, 1975
College: Kentucky Wesleyan
2003: The standout wide receiver-linebacker finished with 61 receptions for 608 yards and six touchdowns. He also returned a career-high 73 kicks for 1,581 yards and four touchdowns. Robinson finished the season ranked among the league leaders in several categories and was named game Ironman five times. 2002: In nine games during the 2002 season, Robinson finished the season breaking team records in all kick return categories. He returned the ball for 957 and 208 yards in a single game. He was named Offensive Player of the Week by the AFL for the first time after recording 328 all-purpose yards. He was also named game MVP once and game Ironman once. 2001: Led the Houston ThunderBears his rookie season with 62 receptions for 807 yards (13.0 avg.), 14 touchdown receptions and four forced fumbles. Was fourth on the team with 37 tackles, recorded two interceptions, both returned for touchdowns.
COLLEGE: Still holds 22 Kentucky Wesleyan records, including most career receptions (191), most career receiving yards (3,328), most career touchdowns (46) and most career all-purpose yards (5,601). First-team All-America selection as a senior, participated in Snow Bowl (Division II All-Star game) and was selected National Offensive Player of the Year by Football Gazette.
PERSONAL: Born in LaGrange, Georgia, he spent three seasons in the Indoor Football League from 1998-2000 and was a member of the 17-0 Peoria Pirates Gold Cup champions in 2000. In winning the league title (63-42 win over the Bismarck Blaze, 8/7/00), Robinson won the game's Most Valuable Player award by leading the team in rushing (12 carries, 103 yards, four touchdowns), in receiving (four catches, 98 yards, two TDs) and scoring (six TDs) and all-purpose yards (218) He also had one kickoff return for 17 yards against the Blaze. During the regular season, he finished 10th in the league in scoring with 128 points; was second on the team in receiving with 42 catches, 592 yards and a team-leading 14 touchdowns in 12 games; also rushed for 167 yards (5.2 avg.) on 32 carries which was third-best on the team; second in all-purpose yardage with 1,251 (best avg. 104.2 yards). In two other playoff games, he carried the ball only twice for three yards; five catches for 75 yards and one TD. Defensively, Robinson had 23 tackles and forced a fumble.
Position (AFL Experience): OL/DL (2 seasons)
Ht./Wt.: 6'2"/290 lbs.
D.O.B.: Oct. 26, 1977
College: Boston College
CAREER: 2003: The 2003 season was a standout season for LaQuerre as he was named the Gladiators' Lineman of the Year. He recorded 13 total tackles, three tackles for a loss of seven yards and one forced fumble. He also contributed with one sack. 2002: As an Arena Football League rookie in 2002, LaQuerre only recorded one total tackle and assisted on one tackle for a loss of one yard in 14 games of action, but was consistent in keeping the pressure off of QB Jay McDonagh.
COLLEGE: Attended Boston College. Redshirted his first season (1996). He saw limited action on left side of the offensive line in 1997, but played in six games in 1998. He became a mainstay on the Eagles' offensive line during the 1999 and 2000 seasons and started all 12 games during his junior season (1999). During his senior season in 2000 he played in nine games at left guard.
PERSONAL: LaQuerre was born on October 26, 1977 and was an active member of his high school community. He participated in activities that included National Honor Society, Peer Leadership and Alliance Against Violence and Racism in Schools. He earned All-America honors from USA Today and All-Region accolades from Blue Chip Illustrated, Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report and Super Prep magazine. Paul also captured Boston Globe and Boston Herald All-Scholastic honors as a senior offensive and defensive tackle for head coach Paul Demanche's team. In 1995, he led the Barnstable team to an 11-0 mark, the Old Colony League title and the Eastern Massachusetts Division 1-A Super Bowl championship; his team finished as the top-ranked team in the Boston Globe and Boston Herald polls. He also earned Old Colony League all-star honors as a junior and senior.
Position (AFL Experience): OL/DL (5 seasons)
Ht./Wt.: 6'4"/290 lbs. D.O.B.: June 29, 1975
College: University of Buffalo
CAREER: 2003: Mitchell was picked up in the middle of the 2003 season by the Gladiators from the Buffalo Destroyers. For the season he totaled 12.5 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one sack and two quarterback hurries. 2002: Mitchell set a career high with 12 tackles and two sacks for a loss of 12 yards. He tied a career high with one fumble recovery week six vs. Grand Rapids. He blocked a field goal attempt week eight vs. New York. 2001: With the Toronto Phantoms, Mitchell played in nine games and recorded five quarterback hurries, one assisted tackle, one sack for a five-yard loss and one pass breakup. 2000: In only three games of action, Mitchell played for the Milwaukee Mustangs, totaling one sack for a five-yard loss and one tackle. 1999: Began his career in the Arena Football League with the Houston ThunderBears in 1999. He played in four games and forced one and recovered one fumble to go along with four total tackles and one breakup.
COLLEGE: Mitchell finished an impressive career at the University of Buffalo with 158 tackles, including 34 for a loss which ranks fourth all-time in Bull's history. He is also fifth all-time with 15.5 career sacks. Mitchell started every game in his career except one.
PERSONAL: Mitchell was a three-year letter winner at Wren HS in Pezler, South Carolina. He played in the South Carolina North-South All-Star game and was an All-State selection as a senior.
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Arena Football League (1987-2008) Stories from September 2, 2003
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