Back with an unedited notebook after attending Spokane's Tuesday practice. Read more about the demise of the AFL, the war of words leading up to Saturday's game with Boise and an injury update below.
By Jim Meehan
Spokane Shock players and coaches were disappointed but not surprised by numerous media reports that the Arena Football League might have played its last game.
The AFL, which canceled its 2009 season while trying to work out a new business model, is on the brink of folding and declaring bankruptcy, the Associated Press reported. The 22-year-old league is the next rung up the professional ladder for players thriving with
“My hopes weren’t up for it to come back,” linebacker Kevin McCullough said. “The UFL (United Football League) is going to play, there are still some spots in that league. The CFL is always around, the NFL, so there are still opportunities.”
Four-year Shock receiver Raul Vijil was in line for an AFL promotion after the 2008 season. Instead, he’s putting up big numbers again for the Shock and he’s doing well as a financial advisor.
“It was tough because it was something I had been working for and had been a goal of mine and I felt it was in my grasp,” said Vijil, an
Vijil is focused on the af2 playoffs, which continue with top-ranked
“I have something good going on the side (with work) and I’m having a great time playing in
Shock head coach Adam Shackleford anticipates some version of the AFL to return in the near future because numerous AFL franchises want to continue.
“It’s going to make a lot of players available next year and it’s going to make it very interesting and competitive,” he said.
Shackleford believes af2 is on solid footing, though there has been speculation that at least 5-6 teams are struggling financially.
“We have a tremendous business model and strong ownership groups and a league that does the right things,” he said. “I feel like we’re very safe.”
McCullough is willing to play the waiting game.
“There’s talk about combining the better teams from our league with a couple of AFL teams,” he said. “I’m playing football because I love it and I’d like to get back to the outdoor game at some point.”
The Shock read with interest post-game comments from
“Our guys want
Shackleford said the Shock “certainly appreciate the bulletin-board material.”
McCullough was typically blunt.
Linemen/fullback Johnie Kirton missed practice Tuesday to try out for the
McCullough (knee, ankle), Justin Warren (knee) and Sergio Gilliam (groin) were mostly spectators at practice, but all three are expected to play against
Gilliam intercepted three passes in