Record-breaking QB, receiver ready to lead Power's passing game
By Jerry DiPaola
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 8:18 p.m.
During lunch one day on the South Side, Aaron Lesue lifted the dog tag that hangs around his neck and showed it to everyone at the table.
No one asked to see it, but Lesue didn't care. The dog tag was worn by his father, Michael Wayne Lesue, who died in a parachuting accident in Korea in 1984. Aaron was 2.
“I wear it as a reminder of my goals,” said Lesue, who has plenty of them.
Foremost is playing wide receiver for the Power and joining new quarterback Tommy Grady on the team's almost totally rebuilt Arena Football League roster. When training camp opens Friday at Southpointe Fieldhouse, they will bring to Pittsburgh from the defunct Utah Blaze one of the most potent pass-catch combinations in indoor football history.
Yet there is so much more to Lesue's story.
He also participates in three other sports: rugby, bobsledding and skeleton.
Lesue is a member of the U.S. development team in rugby, a sport that overlaps the indoor football season. This fall, however, he will resume training in the other two in hopes of competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“That would be a very special thing,” he said of going to Korea where his father died.
“It's kind of difficult because I don't have an offseason,” said Lesue, 31, who didn't pursue those sports until after he left Utah State in 2009. “I go from one season to the next to the next.”
Lesue is motivated by newspaper clippings that trumpet his father's accomplishments as a two-time Missouri state champion running back, a sprinter and pole vaulter.
“When I was a little boy,” Lesue said, “I said, ‘Hey, I want to be a professional football player, be in the Olympics, break a world record.' I wanted to do those things that are similar to what my dad was like.”
So far, he has made the greatest impact on indoor football.
In four seasons with Grady and the Blaze, Lesue had 313 receptions for 3,703 yards and 104 touchdowns.
The football was thrown by the Utah Jazz mascot from a 365-foot-tall crane. It was traveling 86 mph in high winds and left a bruise on his arm, he said.
When the Blaze folded after last season, the AFL assigned Lesue and Grady to the Power, who are remaking their roster after losing 27 of 36 games the past two seasons. Both players signed three-year contracts that are designed to help the franchise's quest for stability.
The 6-foot-7, 250-pound Grady was AFL MVP in 2012 when he set league records in several categories, including throwing 12 touchdown passes in a game against the Cleveland Gladiators. That's three times as many as he threw in his senior season at Utah in 2007. In four indoor seasons, Grady has thrown for 18,112 yards and 397 touchdowns.
Grady will become the Power's 13th starting quarterback in four seasons.
“Players are going to follow good quarterback play,” coach Derek Stingley said. “The recruiting process this year was so much better. We are plugging holes.”
In a quarterback-driven league that takes time for outdoor players to master, Lesue said, the Power have found their on-field leader.
“If Tommy is protected,” he said, “as long as the receivers are running the right routes at the right depths and being where they need to be, Tommy will get the ball where it needs to go.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.