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Cliff Dukes returns to Tampa Bay Storm

big season: Former USF star Amarri Jackson holds the Storm rookie record for touchdown catches in a season with 31.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

big season: Former USF star Amarri Jackson holds the Storm rookie record for touchdown catches in a season with 31.

TAMPA Cliff Dukes is back.

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The linebacker, who missed the Georgia game after signing with the United Football League's Virginia Destroyers two weeks ago, landed in Tampa on Wednesday night and will play against visiting San Jose on Saturday.

"It's good to be back and to play in front of our fans," he said.

The UFL announced Tuesday that the league will begin the season in mid September, rather than the original Aug. 13 start date. According to the website, the UFL is pushing back games due to "the uncertainty that gripped pro sports (that) delayed many essential business agreements until late in the offseason."

Dukes, who leads the league with 12½ sacks and is three away from the single-season record, said the Destroyers gave him permission to play for the Storm this weekend.

"I hope I can (break the record)," Dukes said. "I'm going to do everything I can to."

Another record: For the second straight week, WR Amarri Jackson set a Storm record. Jackson, who starred at USF, had three TDs against Georgia to set the team rookie record for touchdown catches in a season with 31. Jackson eclipsed Freddie Solomon's 2003 mark of 28.

Buie injured: Jarriet Buie’s season ended prematurely Saturday. Buie, an Armwood High and USF product, sprained his MCL and was placed on injured reserve. Buie started all 15 games in his rookie season with the Storm and ranks seventh in the AFL with 11 tackles for loss. Buie finishes the season with 6½ sacks and a forced fumble.

Grothe to start? There hasn't been confirmation but expect QB Matt Grothe to start Saturday night when the Storm hosts San Jose in the season finale at the St. Pete Times Forum. Grothe, a former USF standout, came on for starter Danny Southwick last week against Georgia, finishing 12-of-24 for 161 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.

Point-after problems: The team signed its third kicker this week, bringing in Craig Camay. Greg Gundersen, who was signed before the Georgia game and missed a pair of extra points and struggled on kickoffs, was released. The team also activated former Florida State WR De'Cody Fagg from injured reserve.

>>up next

Storm (6-11) vs. San Jose (7-10)

When/where: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa

TV/radio: BHSN; 1250-AM

Tickets: tampabaystorm.com

Cliff Dukes returns to Tampa Bay Storm 07/20/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 10:53pm]
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