TAMPA — Jimmy Gordon's primary job in college football wasn't to tackle. But that doesn't mean the former Buffalo tight end didn't like to hit.
"I always looked to deliver the punishment," he said. "Not absorb it."
The way Gordon looks at it, it's better to be the hammer than the nail, regardless of which side of the ball he is on.
"I don't mind running into a brick wall," Gordon said.
Goodbye, offense. Hello, defense.
Gordon has left his tight end days behind, and the Storm is reaping the benefits. Gordon, 6 feet 2 and 275 pounds, now hands out the punishment at MAC linebacker. He has started all six Storm games this season heading into tonight's game against Cleveland at Amalie Arena.
"They say to play the position, you have to enjoy the craziness," Gordon, 24, said. "And I do."
The move has fallen in line with Gordon's personality. Arena League MAC linebackers rush the quarterback on each play, blasting through a hole in the line only to be met by an awaiting fullback.
"Any MAC is a little crazy," Gordon said. "To stand 5 yards back and run into a fullback full speed, that's a little nuts."
Gordon, who played part of last season as a rookie with Jacksonville, joined the Storm this year, replacing Dexter Jackson. Jackson is now the Sharks' MAC linebacker.
"It was great to meet him and pick his brain a little," Gordon said. "I know he was a fan favorite here, and right now I'm just trying to make my own name. I want to be the face of the Tampa Bay Storm."
The former tight end made his biggest splash in the Storm's last game, against Orlando on May 13, collecting a pair of sacks. The sacks were just the Storm's second and third of the season.
"We held what they say is the best team in the league (Orlando) … to their lowest point total of the year," Gordon said of the Storm's 42-40 loss. "No one expected that."
The Storm's defense has been more impressive than Tampa Bay's 0-6 record. The Storm is third in the league in average yards allowed per game at 260.3.
"Our defense has been playing exceptionally well the last three weeks," coach Lawrence Samuels said. "They've held some of the best offenses recently in check. That's all you can ask."
And though he plies his trade on the defensive side, Gordon hasn't forgotten his offensive roots. He scored his first career Arena League touchdown against Orlando on a fullback sweep off right end. Combined with his two sacks, Gordon, who also long snaps for the Storm, earned AFL Playmaker of the Week recognition.
"It was a great honor," he said. "My whole game is about being able to do whatever my team needs me to do. When coach calls my number, I'm ready."