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Many Tampa Bay Storm players also have 9-to-5 jobs

TAMPA — Most Storm fans know Brett Dietz from his work on the field.

Arguably the face of the franchise, Dietz can be seen on the weekends standing tall in the pocket and tossing touchdowns. But on weekdays, he might be responsible for depositing your money.

"It's kind of like the Superman thing," Dietz said. "You work all day in a suit and tie and then tear that off and turn into a superhero."

Dietz is one of several Storm players who work day jobs around the bay area. The third-year quarterback is a financial services representative at Fifth Third Bank in St. Petersburg.

"I have a mortgage and bills to pay," Dietz said. "I have to work."

In the revamped economic landscape of the Arena Football League, working a day job has become necessary for many players. Most make $400 per game. Three on each team are "franchise" players and make $1,000 per game. Over 16 games, that's $6,400 or $16,000.

"(Working) is just something you have to do," receiver Tyrone Timmons said. "There's no point in pouting about it, and there is no easy way around it."

Before the league suspended play prior to the 2009 season, players' salaries were skyrocketing. Some made six figures. But the ballooning salaries made it difficult for teams to turn a profit, and the league went bankrupt.

"In the old days, you could make a living just playing Arena ball," Dietz said. "We would work out early in the day and then go home, get a little rest and hit the gym at night to take care of our bodies."

Nowadays, Timmons might not see his home for 15 hours at a clip. He shows up to his job as a visual system analyst for flight simulators at 6 a.m. He wraps up work about 4 p.m. and heads straight to the St. Pete Times Forum to watch film, get taped up and hit the field for practice.

If he is lucky, Timmons will sneak in a half-hour nap after film study.

"It never gets an easier," the former Tampa Bay Tech standout said. "Sometimes, I'm at both jobs for 20 hours a day, and I'm expected to perform at both at a very high level."

Defensive back Michael Hawthorne runs a personal training studio. Offensive lineman Tom Kaleita sells insurance. Fullback Terrence Royal works at a medical supply company. Kicker Garrett Rivas and receiver Lawrence Samuels teach and coach football at Berkeley Prep and East Lake High, respectively.

"It can be funny when people come into the bank and they eventually realize who I am," Dietz said. "Usually, it's because they pick up a schedule I have on my desk and we start talking about the Storm and I tell them who I am."

Dietz and Timmons said, for the most part, their employers are understanding of the situation. Many of Dietz's colleagues at Fifth Third regularly attend Storm games, and the company has an outing for about 200 set for the regular-season finale against Orlando.

"I'm very appreciative of the way the company has handled things," Dietz said. "They've worked with me."

Timmons said although he is known throughout the bay area for catching touchdowns, his off-field employer made it clear which job comes first.

"My job supports what I do, but they let me know they are the first priority," he said. "Football can't interfere with work."

Tonight

Storm vs. Alabama

When/where: 7:30; St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa

TV/radio: BHSN; 1250-AM

Tickets: (813) 301-6600 or tampabaystorm.com

Many Tampa Bay Storm players also have 9-to-5 jobs 07/23/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 23, 2010 11:40pm]

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