Yard Dawgz Star Timon Marshall Joins NFL's Chicago Bears
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Grand Rapids Rampage's leading receiver and kickoff return man will be joining a new team in a new league this season, as Timon Marshall (Kingston, Jamaica) signed on with the NFL's Chicago Bears. The Arena Football League's 2007 leader in all-purpose yards, kickoff return yards, and return touchdowns will take part in the Bears' minicamp beginning this week.
"We're very happy for Timon and for his family," said Sparky McEwen, Rampage head coach and director of football operations. "He is a classy and professional young man, and he made us all proud. After seeing him progress from [arenafootball2] through the AFL, I know this couldn't have happened to a more deserving player."
Marshall, who spent two seasons (2003-04) in the af2 with the Tulsa Talons and Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz before joining Grand Rapids, played three years (2005-07) with the Rampage, setting several records while proving himself as one of the team's most electric players of all time. In just 38 games, Marshall set a team record for career kickoff return yards (3,506), tied for first in Rampage history with eight kickoff returns for touchdowns, and was second behind only former receiver and current offensive coordinator Michael Baker for all-purpose yards in a Grand Rapids uniform (6,457).
In addition, Marshall's 2,741 career receiving yards rank fourth in team history, while his 224 receptions place him fifth in Grand Rapids' annals, just one shy of fourth-place holder Steve Smith.
"My time with the Rampage has been unbelievable," said Marshall, who also won the team's Michael Baker Community Service Award in 2005 and 2006 and was named the Rampage Player of the Year at the West Michigan Sports Awards last season. "Grand Rapids' fans have been great, and the experience of playing in the AFL has helped pave the way for me to achieve my goals both on and off the field."
Through 14 weeks of the AFL season, Marshall has been a serious contender for the league's 2007 Ironman of the Year award, logging impressive numbers both offensively and on special teams. His Rampage record 3,050 all-purpose yards are 728 more than second-place holder Will Pettis of the Dallas Desperados, while his 1,908 kickoff return yards set a team record as well. Meanwhile, Marshall recorded nine return touchdowns, including three kickoff return scores and three fumble recoveries for touchdowns, which ties a league record set by Anthony Derricks in 2000. The Ottawa (Kan.) University product was on pace to eclipse AFL records in all-purpose yards, kickoff return yards, and kickoff returns for touchdowns.
While with the Yard Dawgz in 2004, Marshall had 50 kickoff returns for 1,004 yards, and led the team in scoring and all purpose yards. Marshall also contributed on defense with 38 total tackles and 7 pass breakups.
Marshall was a member of the "Golden Retrievers", a group that included Marshall, Al Hunt, and Kris Peters. The trio was the second unit in af2 history to each record 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
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