Thunder Veterans KC Obi, Jamar Howard Return
PORTLAND - The Portland Thunder continued their early work in free agency on Friday, with head coach Andy Olson announcing the return of veterans LB KC Obi and WR Jamar Howard, along with the acquisitions of first year players DE Reggie Wilson and WR Dakarai Pecikonis.
The announcement comes on the heels of a whirlwind first day of transactions that saw eight other free agent acquisitions, including the arrivals of veteran wide receivers Rashaad Carter and Nick Truesdell, and the retention of All-Arena center John Collins.
The Thunder's 'Defensive MVP' of 2015, as voted by the coaches and staff, KC Obi (6-2, 220, North Texas) returns to for his third season with the team, and his third in the AFL. Obi excelled in multiple disciplines during his second season, beginning the year at defensive end, until an injury to linebacker Brandon Tett forced the then AFL sophomore into the second level. Obi's quickness and strength aided him well in the new role, allowing him to finish the 2015 season second on the team in sacks (6.5) and tackles for a loss (7.5).
"Adding a player with the versatility and work ethic that Obi has is crucial for our defense," Olson stated. "He had a break out season in 2015, and we are looking forward to him building to be a dominant player in this league."
In the Thunder's Inaugural season, Obi contributed in 15 games, notching 22 tackles, and his five sacks were good for second on the team. Obi is also responsible for the first safety recorded in team history.
Howard (6-4, 215, Central Missouri) returns for his third season with the Thunder, and his fourth in the AFL. Last season, Jamar was setting the pace for AFL receivers throughout the first five weeks, tallying 45 catches, for 610 yards, ranking second in the League for both categories. His 13 touchdowns tied him for first to that point as well, before Howard exited the Week 5 clash in San Jose with a leg injury. The leg injury required surgery, causing Jamar to miss 12 games, before returning to action in Week 20.
"Jamar Howard is a very special player," Olson continued. "He has the ability to be the number one receiver on any roster in this league. His experience and desire to be great is going to spread throughout the team and will only make us a stronger unit."
In his first season in the AFL, with the Cleveland Gladiators, Howard caught 39 passes for 422 yards and six touchdowns in only eight games with the team. Howard joined the Thunder in its inaugural season where he posted 44 receptions for 664 yards and nine touchdowns in 11 games.
Wide receiver Dakarai Pecikonis (6-0, 180, Angelo State) will enter his first season of AFL play with the Thunder in 2016. The career leader in receptions (189) and receiving yards (2,831) for Angelo State University, Pecikonis was a four year starter for the Rams from 2009 to 2014 (did not play in 2011, 2013). Dakarai led all Rams receivers with 56 catches during his senior season in 2014, and averaged over 60 yards per game.
A four year player that appeared in 51 games for the Texas Longhorns from 2010 to 2013, defensive end Reggie Wilson (6-3, 255) will also enter his first season in the AFL with the Thunder in 2016. Reggie recorded 64 total tackles, three sacks, and 10 pressures during his time in Austin. As a prep, Wilson was regarded as a national All-American, and recorded a game high six tackles in the 2010 US Army All-American Bowl. A Cote d'Ivoire native, Wilson also attended rookie mini-camp with the Dallas Cowboys in 2014.
Images from this story
Portland Thunder Signee WR Dakari Pecikonis
Portland Thunder WR Jamar Howard
Portland Thunder LB KC Obi
Portland Thunder Signee DE Reggis Wilson
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Arena Football League Stories from November 6, 2015
- Thunder Veterans KC Obi, Jamar Howard Return - Portland Thunder
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- Lightning, Storm & Amalie Arena to Join Red Cross in Thanking Veterans/Military Members - Tampa Bay Storm
- Predators Add Four Rookie Players On Free Agency's Opening Day - Orlando Predators
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