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Highlands graduate Elliott returns to Power

| Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, 1:14 a.m.
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Highland grad and current center for the Pittsburgh Power Beau Elliott works on rehabilitating his rotator cuff at South Pike Fitness in Buffalo after an injury last season the Arena Football League. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
The Power's Beau Elliott plays against the Soul at Consol Energy Center March 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

Pittsburgh Power center Beau Elliott tore his right rotator cuff after playing in just eight games in the Arena Football League.

But Elliott has healed, and he's ready to start over. With the injury behind him, Elliott signed a three-year contract to return to the Power.

The AFL has a new collective bargaining agreement this year. Elliott, 30, a 2001 Highlands graduate and current offensive line coach at his alma mater, will make $830 a week compared to $430 last year. The CBA also includes upgrades in housing and player transportation. Last year, if a player was signed to a team, he had to pay his own way.

Now, that has changed.

“Particularly for our team, I felt the accommodations were good,” said Elliott (6-foot-3, 315 pounds). “Pittsburgh does take care of their players and their standards are pretty high, and I want to make that clear.”

Winning is something that Elliott has grown accustomed to in his career. During his senior year at Highlands, the Golden Rams advanced to the WPIAL semifinals. Elliott played his college career at Indiana (Pa.) from 2001-05, where the Crimson Hawks were the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference champions in 2001 and '02 and the PSAC West co-champions in 2003 and '04.

The winning trend continued when Elliott began playing in the AFL. It all started in Arena Football League 2 when Elliott played for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Pioneers. They made it to the championship in 2007 but lost to the Tulsa Talons, 73-66.

Elliott spent the next three years playing for the Chicago Rush in the AFL. The Rush made it to the playoffs each of Elliott's three years and made it the conference championship, but they fell short of the Arena Bowl championship game.

“I'm fortunate enough to be on a good teams, and winning has become natural,” Elliott said. “Last year when we had the firing of the players in Orlando, that disrupted our team and I think that had a lot to do with how our record was last year. I'm just trying to get a whole bunch of wins and get me a ring. I want a ring.”

The Power made a coaching change midway through the season last year. Defensive coordinator Derek Stingley took over as interim head coach. He was named head coach for the 2013 season.

According to Stingley, losing Elliott last year to injury was a big loss.

“Whenever you lose one of your top centers, that's always tough,” Stingley said. “Especially from an in-game perspective where we are primarily passing, and Beau is so good at what he does. It was unfortunate to lose him.”

According to Elliott, one of the positives of playing for his hometown team is being able to have family and friends attend his games, as well as having a short travel time to home games and practices.

“I can hold a semi-normal life outside of football and play for a good professional organization,” Elliott said. “I can also make a little money doing it.”

The Power report to training camp March 1 and will open the regular season March 23 at home against the Utah Blaze.

D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.

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