After sitting out a league-imposed four-game suspension, veteran defensive lineman Tim McGill showed up at the Storm's training facility the week before the April 15 game at Philadelphia and made his intentions clear.
"I'm here to break the league record (for sacks)," McGill said. "Single season, single game, career. … I want all of them."
McGill had three sacks against the Soul. But his most notable contribution since has been paving the way for a teammate to break the record McGill planned on setting himself.
"He causes so many problems for lines," coach Dave Ewart said. "You're seeing the havoc he causes help others out."
The player benefitting most from the double teams McGill sees is Cliff Dukes. The second-year Michigan State linebacker has 10 1/2 sacks, five off the Arena Football League single-season record. With eight games left going into the Storm's (4-6) game tonight against Georgia (6-5), there's a good chance Dukes will eclipse Gabe Nyenhuis' mark of 15 1/2.
"Honestly, if I don't break it, I hope Tim does," Dukes said. "We really bonded last year, and there is a great chemistry between us on the field."
The Storm's pass rush, ranked second in the league, has been a constant threat since McGill's return. McGill has 4 1/2 sacks while fellow lineman Jermaine Smith, who signed the week after McGill, has a pair.
"I'd say half of Cliff's sacks are because of Tim and vice versa," Ewart said. "They work well off of each other."
After struggling with weight issues for years, McGill showed up in the best shape of his six-year AFL career.
McGill, whose weight had ballooned to nearly 400 pounds, began working out diligently and watching his diet.
"I was on a mission this offseason," he said. "I set goals, and I accomplished them. This is all part of my plan."
Tops on his to-do list was approaching food from a different angle. Instead of eating for pleasure, McGill began eating to power his workouts.
"Now I look at food as fuel," he said. "Everything that was going in my belly was for a purpose."
McGill learned the best way to maximize his calories to get the most out of his workouts.
"I started eating six times a day to keep my metabolism moving," he said. " … It was a total change in approach."
The result? McGill dropped nearly 75 pounds, to 325.
"He might only have four sacks or whatever, but sometimes that stat can be misleading," Ewart said. "We keep track of pressures, and he's always at the top. He's just so disruptive to an offense's timing."