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Wranglers add former Longhorn

December 6, 2005 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - Austin Wranglers News Release

AUSTIN, TX, December 6, 2005 - The Austin Wranglers have made strides in tapping former NFL talent by signing previous University of Texas standout Rod Babers along with Derrick Lewis and Rob Murphy.

As another strong addition to the secondary, Babers will be used as a defensive specialist, while Lewis will play at the offensive specialist position. Murphy joins the core of linemen, performing primarily as a center.

Babers and Lewis are both attending the three-day mini-camp, which started Monday, December 5 and will end Wednesday, December 7. Mini-camp provides an opportunity for these newcomers along with the rest of the Wranglers to play with their teammates for the first time.

Returning to Austin now in a Wranglers uniform, Babers was with the Chicago Bears for the 2005 training camp and played with the team through Week Five of this season. He spent most of his career with the Detroit Lions where he totaled seven games with 10 tackles.

"We feel that with Rod's combination of speed and quickness will help him transition to the AFL," says Head Coach Skip Foster. "We are elated to have another Texas Longhorn join our team."

"After having played in all levels of football, it is great to come to the Wranglers where I can learn the AFL game from seasoned veterans and develop chemistry with this team," says Babers. "Austin is a great football city and the Wranglers fan base is growing every day. I hope I can help bring a championship home to the fans."

Derrick Lewis attended training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2005 after having a strong performance in NFL Europe with the Frankfort Galaxy during the 2004 season.

"Derrick is an outstanding player who we viewed at the Buccaneers training camp," says Foster. "He is going to make a great offensive specialist or wide receiver/linebacker in this league."

Rob Murphy attended the Detroit Lions training camp in 2005 after playing four solid seasons in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers and the Indianapolis Colts.

"Rob is a former NFL player who can play anywhere on the offensive line," says Foster. "He brings another dimension to our offensive front especially at center and nose guard."

Babers (5'10'', 183, Texas) enters his rookie season in the AFL after playing in the NFL since 2003. Playing mainly with the Detroit Lions, he was used mostly on special teams. As a Lion, Babers totaled seven games with 10 tackles on his career. As a Texas Longhorn, Babers was a Thorpe Award finalist and was selected to the All-Big Twelve Conference first team in 2002. In his senior season, he started every game at cornerback and recorded 42 tackles (30 solo) with a six yard sack and three tackles for a loss of 10 yards. He led the team with 20 pass breakups with two interceptions for 83 yards and a touchdown. In 2001, an All-Big Twelve second team selection, he recorded 40 tackles (31 solo) with two tackles for a loss of nine yards while forcing and recovering two fumbles and taking a 54-yard interception return in for a touchdown. Moved into the starting line-up and managed 28 tackles (23 solo) at nickleback in 2000.

Lewis (6'2'', 185, San Diego State) was originally signed as an undrafted free-agent with the New Orleans Saints in 2002. After spending most of 2002 on the practice squad, Lewis was moved to the active roster for three games in 2003, tallying one reception for seven yards at the wide receiver position. Was allocated to the Frankfort Galaxy in 2004 and caught 35 passes for 537 yards (15.3 avg.) and five touchdowns. Also carried the ball 13 times for 89 yards, and averaged 28.9 yards per kickoff return. Spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004 and attended their 2005 training camp. Played college football at San Diego State, where he posted 85 receptions for 1,731 yards and seven touchdowns over a three-year career. As a senior, he had 38 grabs for 398 yards. He added 10 carries for 53 yards. Attended Sacramento Junior College in 1998-his first year of organized football-and caught 34 passes.

Murphy (6'5'', 315, Ohio State) began professional career by attending training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1999. Spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL), Frankfort Galaxy (NFL-Europe) and the Chicago Enforcers of the XFL in 2000. Played with the Indianapolis Colts from 2001-02 after originally joining their practice squad. With the San Francisco 49ers, Murphy played in four games in 2003 and logged 15 games in 2004. Most recently attended training camp with the Detroit Lions in 2005. Attended The Ohio State University and was named first team AP All-American in 1997 and 1998 and was an Outland Award Semi-Finalist his senior season.

The Arena Football League, often recognized as one of the nation's most affordable and fan-friendly sports leagues, begins its 20th season in 2006. Season tickets for the Austin Wranglers third season are available by calling (512) 339-3950.

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