Power excel at 'full-time job' as playoff opener looms
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Arena Football League players are seasonal laborers, working for modest pay with little hope of advancement.
Yet the Power (15-3) have found success with an experienced blend of men far enough removed from college to understand how to seriously approach the game but still in the midst of their athletic prime.
“This is definitely full time for us,” said linebacker James Bryant, a 28-year-old veteran who will help lead the Power into Orlando, Fla., on Sunday for the first playoff game in franchise history. “We have a job to do.”
Such an attitude partially stems from the average age of team's top 20 players (28.4). It isn't a group of unsure youngsters coach Ron James has assembled. Most are too old for the NFL, but they found a comfortable niche in the AFL.
“Our team is made up of a bunch of guys who have their own families at home,” Bryant said. “Once you bring that kind of person into this element, we are not here to play games with anybody. We're here to bond.
“We are going to create our own family while we are here. A band of brothers.”
James demands players dress uniformly at practice — yellow jerseys for offense, black for defense and red for quarterbacks. It's not a new concept, but it gives the team a professional look.
“You never know when NFL scouts will walk through the facility,” James said.
Still, the team does not lack for unique personalities:
• Bryant likes to wear a Hannibal Lecter mask in the hopes of intimidating the other team, entertaining fans and motivating teammates. “They feed off it,” he said.
• Defensive back Brandon Freeman has refused to wash his game pants during the team's 12-game winning streak. If that means keeping the equipment truck stocked with disinfectant spray, quality control manager Kevin Quinn said he doesn't mind.
• Quarterback Tommy Grady has brought players together at his home for barbecues where he flips the hamburgers.
But what James said he especially likes about his team is its work ethic.
“We are filled with football players with the desire to excel,” he said. “When they get on the field, they are well coached, they are well disciplined and they attack the situation.”
He pointed to a roughing-the-kicker penalty against defensive lineman Justin Lawrence late in last week's 64-34 victory over the Philadelphia Soul. The game meant nothing in the standings and was long decided in the Power's favor when Lawrence was flagged. He also was fined by the league.
“But he wasn't giving up on the play,” James said. “We are fighting every second of every game, all the way through, and we are going to continue to do that until our last breath.”
Note: The Power activated 6-foot-4 receiver Tyrone Goard, who missed the past five games with a knee injury. Goard has 18 touchdowns on 29 receptions in eight games.
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.
- Trade for Winnik gives Penguins’ competition among bottom six
- Latrobe woman charged with open lewdness
- Snyder seeks re-election as Fayette County Clerk of Courts
- Easter Seals merger in Pennsylvania raises ethics concerns
- Oilfield employee cutbacks may benefit long-haul trucking
- Rossi: Pirates better with Maz on scene
- Roundup: U.S. Steel to idle Gary Works coke plant, displacing 300; Drager plans to close local operation and lay off 150; more
- Rue21 plays to tough teen crowd with new store in Cranberry
- Few in Westmoreland County opposed to expansion plan for Mariner pipeline
- First Draft: Homebrew guru says Budweiser’s message was the opposite of crafty
- Lincoln tries to rejuvenate career in second stint with Pirates