Ryan Cave believes in second chances. More important for Cave, his teammates do, too.
The Spokane Shock offensive lineman has returned after being suspended for two weeks by the team for leaving a heated practice before it was over.
“I’m really upset with myself about what happened that day and I shouldn’t have taken it to the level where it got out of control,” Cave said. “You make mistakes and you learn from mistakes. I’m blessed to be able to play this sport and learning from what you did in the past makes you a better player and man.”
Cave returned home to South Carolina, but contacted Shock coaches and players to apologize. Head coach Andy Olson left it up to the players to decide if Cave would be permitted to return.
“I stepped out on this one,” Olson said. “He apologized numerous times through text and phone messages and really showed an enthusiasm to come back. I left it up to the team that had the problem with him in first place.”
Cave was starting as an Arena Football League rookie prior to his suspension. The Hampton University product started four games for UFL Hartford in 2010.
“I’m just thankful and grateful to be back,” Cave said. “I want to earn my spot back and help the team out any way I can, even if that’s me working hard and being a practice player for now.”
Olson was teammates with fullback Johnie Kirton on Spokane’s 2009 arenafootball2 championship team. Kirton, 26, was found dead Monday in a Santa Clara hotel room, two days after scoring the winning touchdown in San Jose’s win over Chicago.
“I thought about him all day Tuesday,” Olson said. “I’ll always remember him for his great attitude. He was always smiling and always happy. He’s going to be missed.”
The cause of the Kirton’s death hasn’t been determined.
“Johnie was a great guy, the kind of guy that kept the atmosphere loose,” said defensive back Terrance Sanders, who played with Kirton in Arizona in 2010. “He was able to joke and handle business at the same time.”
The Shock (6-4) moved up to No. 7 in the rankings. Spokane has won three straight … Charles Frederick, a standout on Spokane’s af2 title team in 2006, suffered a knee injury in training camp and never made it to the field this season. “It was a very tough decision because he’s such a great guy and a great chemistry guy, but it came to the point where we couldn’t keep in him on injured reserve and had to let him go,” Olson said. … Linebacker Terence Moore, on IR with a knee injury, went through drills Tuesday. He’s eligible to come off IR but that won’t be determined until later this week. … Commissioner Jerry Kurz has expressed a desire to start an AFL developmental league. Talks are preliminary, but one idea under consideration involves a developmental team for each AFL franchise.