By Matt Popchock
The quarterback competition entering training camp, as promised by the Pittsburgh Power’s front office, just got a lot stiffer.
The Power, who had previously been relatively quiet in free agency, have signed former Spokane Shock quarterback Kyle Rowley, the ArenaBowl XXIII MVP and 2008 AF2 Offensive Player of the Year.
Rowley led the Shock to the 2010 league title with nine touchdown passes and ten total scores, both ArenaBowl records, in a victory at home over the American Conference champion Tampa Bay Storm.
Last season Rowley threw for 3,322 yards and 78 touchdowns for Spokane, leading the Shock to another playoff appearance despite spending part of 2011 on IR with a shoulder injury. He ranked eighth in the league with a 112.3 efficiency rating.
One of his former Spokane teammates was current Power QB Bill Stull, who played there briefly in a second-string role before coming to Pittsburgh.
“Kyle has won wherever he’s played–the Ivy League while at Brown, the AF2, and the AFL,” said head coach Chris Siegfried Tuesday evening. “He’ll raise the expectations for our offence and provide mature leadership and experience to a generally young offensive unit.”
The Power, not just Stull, are already familiar with the veteran signal-caller’s work in the Arena League. Siegfried coached the Shock when it was in the AF2 developmental league, and the Power upset Rowley and Spokane in a May 7 game at CONSOL Energy Center…a game that, in hindsight, helped Pittsburgh’s new AFL team in more ways than one.
“Spokane’s visit last year was a great showcase for Kyle to see the unparalleled facilities we have at CONSOL and just how involved the Power fans are,” team owner Matt Shaner added. “It certainly helped us in our efforts to secure one of the top talents in our league.”
On a separate free agency note, Justin Wells, an offensive lineman who played collegiately at St. Augustine (FL) and recently auditioned for several NFL teams, has also signed with the Power.
(Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mpopchock)