The Spokane Shock have been busy assembling their 2014 roster, re-signing nine rookies from last year’s team, including seven who saw game action. That doesn't include the veterans already under contract for 2014.
2013 rookies returning to Spokane are quarterback/receiver Arvell Nelson, receivers Kamar Jorden and Duane Brooks, and offensive linemen Tyrone Novikoff, Will Falakiseni, Samuel Tupua and Miniya Smith. Spokane also exercised rookie options on receiver Demario Ballard and defensive back Antaries Bryan. Bryan spent time in the CFL last season.
Spokane added receiver Thomas Mayo, defensive back Josh Pleasant and offensive lineman Duke Robinson in a dispersal draft following the AFL’s announcement Chicago and Utah won’t be in the league in 2014.
The Shock also signed defensive lineman/linebacker Derrick Summers, who has played for the Jacksonville Sharks and also in the CFL.
Spokane's roster, of course, goes beyond the 13 players mentioned above. Teams have the ability to sign players to multi-year contracts (2- and 3-year pacts, if memory serves) so Spokane has a number of AFL veterans under contract for the 2014 season.
Shock communications director Ryan Eucker has updated the roster, which can be found here. Nearly all of the primary offensive starters (OL Afif, Cave, Pino, FB Falakiseni, WRs Tennell, Jorden, Thompkins, kicker Rowan, key reserve Nelson) are signed.
Spokane's focus is quarterback Erik Meyer, who was the league MVP and offensive player of the year last season. He's sure to be a hot commodity in the pass-happy league AFL and his 2013 season proved he's an elite quarterback.
Spokane didn't sign Meyer to a multi-year contract prior to 2013 for several reasons. There was some concern Meyer, after a couple of injury plagued seasons, might not return to football but the former EWU quarterback stayed healthy in 2013 and put up huge stats. Majority owner Brady Nelson said AFL rules prevented the team from offering him a multi-year deal during the season.
So Meyer is free to look at other teams. He is originally from La Mirada, which isn't far away from the home base of the new LA Kiss. The Kiss, however, have offered Tim Tebow a contract (it's doubtful he'll sign after turning down overtures to remain in the NFL if he switched positions) and recently acquired veteran QB J.J. Raterink from Iowa. Other teams will gauge Meyer's interest.
Working in Spokane's favor is the fact the team made a bold trade to acquire Meyer during the 2011 season and stood behind him when he was sidelined by injury for much of that season and nearly all of 2012. Meyer is an EWU product and has a home in Cheney. He has embarked on a coaching career -- he helped on Eastern's staff before moving on to become quarterbacks coach at Central Washington. The team obviously will work with Meyer if he wants to continue his AFL and coaching careers.
On defense, the Shock have locked up numerous starters with the exception of linebacker Beau Bell, an impact player the last few seasons, and defensive backs Paul Stephens and Ruschard Dodd-Masters.
--Also, the team has announced an open tryout scheduled for Oct. 19.