Former LSU QB Jefferson hopes to showcase skill in Arena Football League
Share with others:
The path to the NFL will go through Pittsburgh if it comes together for former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson.
Jefferson will line up indoors at 6 p.m. today to quarterback the Power, which opens its third Arena Football League season against the Utah Blaze at Consol Energy Center.
A world away from Baton Rouge, La., it will be the start of a journey on which he hopes to demonstrate improved passing skills, leadership and that he is someone worth taking a chance on.
"I think of this as another opportunity, another chapter that I will have to face," Jefferson said. "A lot of people want to see you throw the ball consistently. This league will allow me to do it.
"They want to see leadership, consistency. They want to see you be a winner. I was in a phase in college where I didn't really throw the ball as much as I wanted to. Now I'm on a team that will allow me to do that."
Utah Blaze vs. Power, 6 p.m. today, Consol Energy Center.
- TV, Radio, Internet:
Comcast Channel 204; Verizon Fios Channel 461; pittsburghpower.com.
QB Jordan Jefferson will debut for the Power, after an LSU career that ended in the 2012 Bowl Championship Series title game. ...Returns P.J. Berry, who returned 111 kicks for a franchise-record 2,024 yards in 2012. ... Picked up LB Alvin Ray Jackson, who led the league with 14 interceptions with the New Orleans VooDoo last year.
Led by returning MVP QB Tommy Grady. ... Returns veteran DBs David Hyland and Al Phillips, the team's all-time leader in tackles. ... Defensive front nicknamed "Sack Lack City."... DL Caeser Rayford had 7.5 sacks last year.
Power coach Derek Stingley, who was promoted from defensive coordinator in a 2012 season interrupted by labor disputes, said his team is built well this year and already is acting like a team.
"As of right now we feel like the chemistry is well put together," Stingley said. "The guys, they already have great camaraderie on and off the field. In the past we struggled with that a bit. A lot of that has changed because we had labor issues last year. They were split. Since we have peace now, guys are only focusing on football."
Other roster highlights include return specialist P.J. Berry, who ran back 111 kicks for a franchise-record 2,024 yards. He also caught 111 passes for 1,282 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2012.
The team also picked up linebacker Alvin Ray Jackson, who had a league-leading 14 interceptions for New Orleans last year.
A lot will hinge on Jefferson, though, considering the league is built for offense.
Jefferson (6 feet 5 225 pounds) threw for 4,733 yards and scored 34 touchdowns in his career at LSU. He was passed over in the 2012 NFL draft, landed a free-agent deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but was waived four days later.
Jefferson has made his share of headlines for problems off the field -- including a marijuana possession charge. He addressed his past this week and said those problems are behind him.
"I look at those situations as adversity," he said. "Those situations are behind me. Everybody faces adversity throughout their life. That was mine. I've overcome, let that go."
Stingley said Jefferson is leading by example, and suggested his player has left his problems behind him.
"From what I've seen he's accepted the fact that he's in football, around football players. This is something he's used to," Stingley said. "Here, he's been a model citizen. For him, the past is the past. And in my opinion I think he's learned from those mistakes.
"He understands he was in a big-time school and has a lot of friends that are in the NFL and he feels he has the same type of ability. Unfortunately he may have to take the long way, but those are still his dreams. This is an avenue and a platform for him."
Jefferson said he's ready for the chance, even if it is a humbling one.
"It is humbling. I never knew much about the AFL, but from my understanding these three weeks, it's a great league. I'm surrounded by a great group of guys and a great staff that gives me the ability to exploit my talents. And that's really what I need.
"The way I really look at it, is everything happens for a reason. I may not understand the reason right now."
First Published March 23, 2013 12:00 am