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Storm coach Lawrence Samuels taking winless season hard

TAMPA — Storm coach Lawrence Samuels is one of the greatest Arena Football League players ever. He is third all time with 1,087 receptions, won three ArenaBowls with the Storm and was named to the AFL All-Ironman team four times.

Which makes the Storm's miserable first half of the season that much more difficult for the Hall of Famer.

"These guys know I take it hard, harder than almost any of them," Samuels said.

At 0-7, the Storm is off to the worst start in team history. And getting into the win column Sunday will be a tall order against Arizona at 2 p.m. Amalie Arena.

"Any time you lose, it hurts," Samuels said. "It doesn't matter if it's (by) one or 30 points. It hurts."

But as bad as the start has been, Tampa Bay has shown life of late. It had the ball at the end and a chance to beat Orlando on the road May 13 but fell 42-40. Monday the Storm took Cleveland to overtime before losing 70-63.

"There are no moral victories with me," Samuels said. "I've always been a competitor, and I don't accept losing. But it's not what we do in the beginning; it's how we look at the end. And I think we're starting to come around."

Local Addition: The Storm signed K Delbert Alvarado before the Cleveland game. The former Robinson High and USF player was 9-for-9 on extra points against Cleveland.

Gregory returns: Wideout Julius Gregory, who splashed on the scene as a rookie in 2015, returned against the Gladiators. Gregory hurt a knee in the opener April 1 against Orlando and hadn't played since. He finished with seven catches for 99 yards and three touchdowns against Cleveland.

Injury update: The Storm lost starting OL Isaiah Tuiasosopo to a leg injury this week, and he will not play Sunday. Receiver T.T. Toliver practiced on a limited basis this week but is expected to go. Wideout Mike Washington, acquired in a trade with Arizona last month but out the past two weeks, also practiced this week. Samuels said he'd be a game-time decision.

Ewart back: Sunday marks former Storm coach Dave Ewart's first return to town in opposing team colors. Ewart, the Rattlers' defensive coordinator, succeeded Tim Marcum as Tampa Bay coach from 2011-13. Ewart was let go after the 2013 season, the Storm's third straight losing season.

Storm coach Lawrence Samuels taking winless season hard 05/28/16 [Last modified: Saturday, May 28, 2016 6:45pm]
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