Friday, November 16, 2012

AFL Coach Returns to Field for Blaze

Clay Harrell has decided to hang up his clipboard and return to the field, as the Utah Blaze announced on Thursday that the franchise has agreed to terms on a contract with the veteran AFL fullback. Harrell last played Arena Football in 2011 before serving as the Offensive Line Coach for the Spokane Shock in 2012.
"Clay has a lot of experience in this League and gives us another veteran leader," said Head Coach Ron James. "He said his body feels great and he's ready to play again. We're certainly willing to give a player of his caliber the chance to get back onto the field because we know what he's capable of."
Prior to becoming a coach in 2012, Harrell (6-2, 320, Northern State) started every game for the Shock during the previous two seasons. As a runner, he totaled 135 yards and nine touchdowns on 24 carries. Harrell help Spokane win ArenaBowl XXIII in 2010, where he played under current Blaze coordinators Rob Keefe and Matthew Sauk.
"I've always admired the way Utah runs its organization," Harrell said. "I've played against the Blaze for years from being in this division with the Spokane Shock and even with the L.A. Avengers. It helps that I have a couple of my former coaches on the staff in Coach Sauk and Coach Keefe. I have a lot of respect for them."
"I realized last year that I really wasn't done playing. I had a lot going on off of the field in 2011 and that led to my decision to retire. But I have a strong passion for football and I still have a few years left in me. I didn't want to be done playing, so that really factored into my decision."
Harrell began his Arena Football career in 2006 as a member of the af2's Everett Hawks, where he earned All-af2 second-team honors as a defensive lineman. He entered the AFL the following year with the Nashville Katz and converted to the offensive line. Harrell then joined the Los Angeles Avengers in 2008, where he caught seven passes for 79 yards and four touchdowns.

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