Shock owner Nelson stands behind coach Olson
Spokane Shock majority owner Brady Nelson, before the question was even posed Tuesday, said he wants first-year head coach Andy Olson to return next season.
“I know people have been speculating about it,” Nelson said.
“We’re very pleased with what’s going on this year, a rookie head coach in an extremely difficult division. I like where we’re at and I like where we’re going to be at going forward.
“I believe in his upside and his upside with our team. I think we’re going to do very well.”
Spokane is 8-8 with two games remaining. The Shock will miss the playoffs for the first time in the organization’s seven seasons.
“What I wanted was a leader who would work hard and was trustworthy,” Nelson said. “And I’m totally pleased with that.”
Another key question in the team’s future – the status of quarterback Erik Meyer – is closer to being resolved. Meyer, who has been on injured reserve since taking a brutal hit in the season-opening loss to Iowa, practiced Tuesday. Players on IR are allowed one practice to evaluate if they are ready to return.
Meyer won’t play again this season. He hasn’t decided about 2013.
“Thinking about 2013,” Meyer said in a text message. “Didn’t want to rush anything.”
Meyer, 29, has been productive on the field but injury prone, including at least two concussions since arriving in a trade with Utah last season.
“It’s a tough decision, especially at my age and being one of the older guys,” Meyer, a Payton Award winner at Eastern Washington University, said earlier Tuesday. “This was possibly my last practice ever, so it’s a tough decision. I’ve been playing this sport for 20-plus years.”
Starting quarterback Kyle Rowley wasn’t allowed to practice after absorbing a couple of big hits in Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia. Rowley wasn’t happy with the decision, but Nelson said the team is following standard procedure when there is suspicion of a concussion.
Rowley is expected to return to practice today. Olson anticipates Rowley will be able to play at Kansas City on Saturday.
Meyer wants to consult with his parents before making a final decision, but he knows what they’ll say.
“I know my mom doesn’t want me to play anymore. She’s worried for my health, and my dad will be pumped if I play and he’d be OK if I don’t play,” said Meyer, who plans on coaching after his playing career.
“It’s 100 percent up to him if he wants to try, and then it’s 100 percent up to me if I think he can do it,” Olson said.
Return of Ironman?
Nelson said AFL owners are considering a return to the sport’s Ironman roots and will likely vote on a proposal during meetings at the ArenaBowl. Teams are expected to have 20 active players next season, down from 21 this year.
“Going back to Ironman rules where guys have to play both ways would definitely change the way the game is, but I think it adds a niche and intrigue to the game,” Nelson said. “It just adds more of what arena football was supposedly founded on.”