The San Jose SaberCats opened training camp for the 2011 season on Sunday. Teams are gearing up for the March 11th kickoff date and will all break camp about a week prior to said date. The SaberCats are set to meet around ten times between now and March 5th in the form of training camps.
Teams enter camp with a full 35-man roster reporting, and will be expected to cut that down to the official 24-man limit before the regular season begins. Expect a lot of changes between now and then regarding who will be staying and who will be going.
Speaking of changes, the team has added wide receiver Rodney Wright, who previously spent four seasons with the team. Rodney totaled 293 receptions for 3,233 yards and 42 touchdowns in that time, adding 2,440 yards and four touchdowns by way of kick returns. The Bakersfield, CA native brings a veteran presence to the current roster of receivers, and has high expectations moving forward.
Head coach Darren Arbet had this to say regarding Wright: “Rodney was an explosive player for us during his four seasons with the team and he will be dynamic for us this year.”
Also on Friday, the team added defensive back DeAndre Wright, a former sixth-round draft pick in the NFL by the New York Giants. Wright spent time on the rosters of the Giants, Vikings and Lions in his time with the NFL. He started 38 games at cornerback and free safety for New Mexico, earning himself All-Mountain West Conference honors in three of his four years there. He had ten interceptions and 25 total passes defensed in his time at the school.
The team also added WR Joel Filani, DB Damion Owens and OL Mark Lewis. Filani has spent time on the rosters of the Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans. Owens was a solid defensive back with good athleticism out of Fresno State, where in 50 games he tallied 96 tackles, two interceptions, a forced fumble and 17 passes defensed. Mark Lewis has spent time on the roster of the St. Louis Rams and previously played at Oregon.
Since these Friday signings however, the team has placed both Wrights, Filani and defensive lineman Shemiah LeGrande on the “Refused To Report” list. This means that the players, for one reason or another, are not present at training camp and are not officially counting to the official roster, making the team available to sign two more players: defensive lineman Francis Maka and defensive back Raphael Whitfield.
Look for some thoughts directly from training camp in the couple of days as I try and make it out to the team’s facilities.