Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Storm set to open Arena League season

Former FSU quarterback Adrian McPherson joins the Storm, returning to the Arena League after five seasons in Canada.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Former FSU quarterback Adrian McPherson joins the Storm, returning to the Arena League after five seasons in Canada.

TAMPA — With the Arena Football League season fast approaching, the Storm is putting the finishing touches on training camp in advance of Saturday's home game against Jacksonville.

The Storm, 8-10 last season, would have qualified for the postseason with a win in the season finale, and expectations are high that a retooled roster can get Tampa Bay to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

Comings: The Storm was very active in the offseason, acquiring nice pieces on both sides of the ball. The biggest signing is former Florida State QB Adrian McPherson, 29, who returns to the AFL after a five-year run in the Canadian Football League. The Bradenton native also played three seasons in the AFL, earning rookie of the year in 2004 (61 TD passes, 19 TD runs, five interceptions).

McPherson has new weapons in former FSU teammate Chris Davis (St. Petersburg Catholic) and former New Orleans VooDoo WR Greg Ellingson (Robinson), who spent time in the Bucs training camp. Tampa Bay also signed DB Rashad Barksdale away from Kansas City.

Goings: Tampa Bay does not have its two most dangerous receivers from 2012. The Storm was rocked in January when WR Chandler Williams died unexpectedly and lost Prechae Rodriguez to Orlando. Rodriguez led the team in catches (125), yards (1,653) and TDs (32). QB Stephen Wasil retired and OL George Bussey, a second-team All Arena pick, signed with San Jose. Tampa Bay also lost its entire defensive backfield including Erick McIntosh and Riley Swanson, who led the team in pass breakups and interceptions, respectively.

Revamped roster: The opening day roster looks quite different from last season, with nine players returning. The 24-man roster has 14 league veterans and 10 first-time AFL players.

TV: After a 2012 season marred with labor disputes and replacement players, the AFL scored a marketing coup by partnering with CBS Sports for 2013. The CBS Sports networks will televise a prime-time game of the week each Saturday during the season and through the semifinals of the playoffs. Tampa Bay at Spokane will be televised April 27, and Orlando visits the Storm on June 8. And in its first return to network TV since 2008 — the year before the league suspended operations for a season — CBS will air ArenaBowl XXVI on Aug. 17.

Speaking of ArenaBowl XXVI … : Orlando's Amway Center will host the championship game. It marks the return to a neutral-site title game (unless the Predators are in it) for the first time since 2008. Arizona looks to become the first team since the 1995-96 Storm to win back-to-back ArenaBowls.

Shark Attack: Jacksonville has been arguably the most consistent team since making its league debut in 2010. The Sharks, the three-time defending South Division champions, captured ArenaBowl XXIV.

Cuts: The league trimmed Kansas City, Georgia and Milwaukee in 2013, bringing the total to 14 clubs.

. fast facts

Tampa Bay vs. Jacksonville

What: Arena League season opener for both

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Tampa Bay Times Forum

Radio: 620-AM

Tickets: Purchase at the Times Forum ticket office, Ticketmaster or at tampabaystorm.com

Storm set to open Arena League season 03/20/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 9:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Rays at Yankees, in a pretty big series

    Blogs

    The Rays open a challenging road trip tonight in New York, the first of four games against the wild-card leading Yankees.

  2. Bucs' Mike Evans wants his "A" game in 4th NFL season

    Blogs

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans has been in the NFL for three seasons, and in two of them, he's had 12 touchdown catches, setting and then matching his own team record. He made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season, but if you ask him to grade those three years, he doesn't see an "A" product just yet.

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans, shown during an OTA workout last month, said he wouldn't give himself an "A" for any of his first three NFL seasons, despite going to the Pro Bowl and twice catching 12 touchdown passes in a season.
  3. Where Tampa's national championship ranks among the greatest games ever

    Blogs

    If you needed any more convincing that Tampa's national championship at Raymond James Stadium was one of the best games in college football history, let me direct you to

  4. Red zone: New-look Kwon Alexander eager to prove himself

    Blogs

    On the morning that Bucs veterans report for the start of training camp, linebacker Kwon Alexander spoke with reporters and showed off a new red look to his hair, as well as an eagerness to get on the field and prove himself to doubters.

    Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander sports a new look with red hair as players reported for training camp Thursday.
  5. What you should know about new Rays reliever Dan Jennings

    Blogs

    The Rays have finally brought in a reliever — and this one isn't a DFA'd castoff. White Sox left-hander Dan Jennings Artsy, no?