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Spokane Empire

Another battle at QB for Spokane Shock

Spokane Shock quarterback Erik Meyer is back on the practice field competing for the starting spot after suffering a concussion in his last start. (Christopher Anderson)
Spokane Shock quarterback Erik Meyer is back on the practice field competing for the starting spot after suffering a concussion in his last start. (Christopher Anderson)

A week ago, the Spokane Shock had three players competing for the starting quarterback job and lost a standout receiver to the UFL.

Same thing this week.

The names have changed at quarterback. Erik Meyer returned to practice Tuesday after missing Saturday’s win over New Orleans with a concussion. The other competitors are Kyle Rowley and Bill Stull. Rowley claimed the starting nod last week over Stull and Steven Sheffield, who is on injured reserve.

“Whoever is feeling better, whoever has the better sense of the (Arizona) defense we’re going to see because I’m throwing everything at them the next two days,” Spokane coach Rob Keefe said. “It’s whoever gives us the best chance to win.”

Keefe knows he’ll probably have a couple of unhappy quarterbacks after he makes the call.

“That’s OK,” he said. “People say, ‘Coach, this could be a problem,’ but I say it’s a good problem to have. We have three good quarterbacks. The goal is not to worry about feelings, politics. It’s deciding the best individual to lead the team. It’s this week. That’s all I care about. If we have to re-evaluate it next week, we will.”

Spokane will be without leading receiver Greg Orton, who is joining UFL Omaha. Orton played in all 14 games and ranked among AFL leaders with 1,365 receiving yards and 31 touchdowns.

Markee White, a key receiver on Spokane’s championship teams in 2009 and 2010, left last week to play for UFL Hartford. Raul Vijil is on injured reserve for at least three more weeks.

“I don’t think we have to rush to sign anybody,” Keefe said. “I feel very confident with the guys we have (Chas Gessner, Adron Tennell, Shaun Kauleinamoku and Emery Sammons). All you can ask is that when they’re called on they step up and I’m proud of their professionalism.”

Meyer, impressive in helping Spokane defeat Philadelphia and Chicago, passed a concussion test Monday.

“I guess I felt (a little foggy) for 4 or 5 days, but I woke up the other day and felt clear and ready to go,” Meyer said. “We know we have to compete for the job and at the end of the day we’re all teammates. We all want what’s best for the team.”

Rowley, who missed roughly six weeks with a shoulder injury, had four touchdown passes and one TD rushing versus New Orleans. He took a couple of hits and said his shoulder held up fine.

“I’m out to win a championship,” Rowley said. “Whoever can get that done, whoever they feel can get that done, that’s who we’re going to roll with. I believe it’s me, but that’s not my job.”


Defensive end Eric Hedin deflected two passes, forced a fumble and had a sack in his Shock debut. He graduated May 29 from Linfield College with a degree in business management. “I just try to be as relentless as I can,” the 6-foot-7 Hedin said. “Never stopping, trying to get (to the quarterback) every time.” …Spokane had at least five players in for tryouts, including ex-Shock offensive lineman Chris Pino. Spokane quickly signed Pino, who received a ring with CFL Grey Cup champion Montreal last season, but was released by the Alouettes on Friday. … Spokane’s Terrance Sanders has returned four kicks for touchdowns. Former Shock and current Arizona Rattler Virgil Gray is one of three players with five TD returns. “The key is good blocks and good schemes,” Sanders said. “You get two or three good blocks and there’s only eight (defenders) out there.”