Ben McCombs has been an arenafootball2 impact player with Bakersfield, Rio Grande Valley and Central Valley. Nothing changed when he joined the 2009 Shock.
McCombs (No. 99 pictured above) was perhaps the biggest free-agent signing for Spokane, which returned 13 players from last year's squad. He's settled in as a starter at defensive end, registering four sacks in four games.
Read more about McCombs' journey to Spokane below in an unedited article that will run in Thursday's S-R.
“I told him that if he was going to be in arena2 next year I was going to do everything in my power to get him to
McCombs couldn’t recall the specifics, but he remembers the gist of Shackleford’s message. Months later, McCombs was set to join
“I’m not sure if it was the same day or the next day when ‘Shack’ called,” McCombs said. “I was pretty bummed out and wasn’t sure what to do, but it was like, ‘Man, it seems right.’ I’ll go up there and keep playing.”
McCombs spoke with
“I said, ‘I want to play in front of a crowd, I want to be on that indoor practice field and I want to have all that stuff up there,” McCombs said. “He said, ‘I can’t recruit against that. Go enjoy yourself.’ He wasn’t happy to hear it, but he definitely understood.”
McCombs has made a seamless transition with
McCombs’ efforts were rewarded with a game ball. He handed the ball over to his father, who made the drive to
The 6-foot-4, 265-pound McCombs is a not-so-gentle reminder that arena football isn’t all about point parades, despite rules that give offenses decided advantages. There is no stunting up front or exotic blitzes. Quarterbacks often take three-step drops and fire quick passes.
It’s not exactly conducive to pass-rushing defensive ends.
“But there are definitely ways to get an advantage,” said McCombs, who was with AFL Chicago last year before finishing the season with
“I’m always trying to make myself better. I try to give them as many different looks as possible. I’m always moving. I have a motor. If I was a coach, I’d want guys that never give up. I’m not going to stop until the play is over and eventually the other guy is going to give up or make a mistake.”
McCombs doesn’t necessarily have to put on his game-face on Saturdays because he generally wears it every day. He took a helmet to his knee earlier this season and missed some practice time. He wasn’t happy about it, but coaches insisted he rest his knee. He rarely takes plays off in practice, “sometimes to the point that some of my teammates get mad at me,” McCombs said.
He’s an admitted adrenaline junkie. He was the only student at San Marcos High to compete in rodeo. He loved bull-riding, even though he broke his arm at one event and it cost him part of his junior season of football.
“Made my coach irate,” said McCombs, who gave up bull-riding at age 18 after winning a first-place belt buckle. “I was hooked the first time I did it. The rush was just indescribable.”
He tried bungee jumping, but wasn’t completely satisfied. “I like it, but I wanted a longer rush,” he said. “That’s why I want to try skydiving. Anything that makes the hair on your neck stand up.”
His to-do list includes ultimate fighting, but football is his priority at present. He’s played the sport since he was 10. He stayed close to home and played at
Scouts don’t often find their way to
McCombs has four of
“I expected a very professional program and that’s what I got,” said McCombs, who supplements his $200 per-game salary (plus $50 if
Even better for the coach.
“When we played against Ben McCombs,” he said, “we game-planned against Ben McCombs. I had a Ben McCombs package in my running plays and it’s nice to not have to use that this year.”