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Steve Papin Leads Trio of Former SaberCats Named as 2013 HOF Finalists

June 24, 2013 - Arena Football League (AFL) - San Jose SaberCats News Release

CHICAGO - The Arena Football League and San Jose SaberCats announced today that after tallying the nominations put forth by the Arena Football Hall of Fame Advisory Board, the Arena Football League has named ten finalists for the AFL Hall of Fame Class of 2013. Former SaberCats offensive specialist, and current broadcaster Steve Papin leads a trio of former SaberCats among those finalists that included defensive specialist Omarr Smith and fullback/linebacker Bob McMillen.

"The Hall of Fame Advisory Board has nominated ten tremendous and very deserving finalists for this Hall of Fame Class," AFL Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz said.

Papin, a San Jose native, is the AFL's all-time leader for all-purpose yards per game, averaging 200.4 over his storied seven year career. He spent five years in San Jose from 1997-2001 and finished his career as a member of the New York Dragons from 2002-03. The former Portland State Viking was named All-Arena twice (1999 and 2000), was named the "Don't Blink! Player of the Year" in both 1998 and 1999, and is the career franchise leader for San Jose in all-purpose yardage (11,352), kickoff return yardage (5,828), kickoff returns for touchdowns (16). He also ranks second only to wide receiver James Roe in career scoring with 780 points scored, as well as total touchdowns (126) and is second to Hall of Famer Barry Wagner in rushing scores (43).

Smith, spent eight of his nine years in the Arena Football League with the SaberCats across two stints (2000-02 and 2004-08). He posted 35 career interceptions at defensive back and is a four-time ArenaBowl champion, three of which were with the SaberCats. The former San Jose State Spartan is currently the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Rattlers. McMillen, an 11-year veteran as a player, is now the head coach of the Chicago Rush and played for the SaberCats from 2001-02. A three-time ArenaBowl Champion, he rushed for over 1,500 yards as a fullback and posted 85 rushing touchdowns throughout his career. He also spent four years with the Rattlers and five more with the Rush.

The other seven finalists for the 2013 Arena Football Hall of Fame include: former Nashville Kats and Orlando Predators wide receiver/linebacker Cory Fleming, a five-time All-Arena selection; former Iowa Barnstormers Head Coach John Gregory, a two-time AFL Coach of the Year; former Nashville Kats wide receiver/linebacker Darryl Hammond, a four-time All-Ironman selection; former Albany Firebirds and Los Angeles Avengers wide receiver/linebacker Greg Hopkins, a four-time All-Arena and All-Ironman selection; former Nashville Kats quarterback Andy Kelly, the tenth Greatest Quarterback in AFL History as voted on by the Silver Anniversary Committee in 2012; Supervisor of Officials Carl T. Paganelli, a longtime AFL official, advisor and contributor to the League and former Tampa Bay Storm wide receiver/linebacker Lawrence Samuels, a five-time All-Arena selection, three-time ArenaBowl champion and MVP of ArenaBowl XVII.

The League Office collected ballots from the Arena Football Hall of Fame Advisory Board, a group which consisted of former executives, journalists and media personnel with a long-time involvement in the game, on Wednesday, June 19. Each member selected ten candidates in the categories of players, coaches and contributors.

In order to be nominated for the 2013 Hall of Fame Class, candidates must meet four criteria. If a player was active before 1989, he must have played for at least two seasons. For players after 1989, a minimum of three seasons of service are required. All players must be retired for three complete seasons. Coaches must have been active for a minimum of five seasons and need not be retired. There is no minimum number of seasons required for contributors, but significant advancement of the AFL is a prerequisite.

Fans and current Hall of Fame members will vote on the finalists beginning today, Monday, June 24, 2013 by logging on to Votes will then be turned into the Hall of Fame Operating Board of Directors. The 2013 Hall of Fame Class will be announced during the 2013 Conference Championship weekend and inductions will be held during the 2014 Arena Football League regular season.

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