By Matt Popchock
The Pittsburgh Power’s 2012 training camp roster now stands at 21, as the team works swiftly to finalize it before the end of the month, per earlier remarks by team owner Matt Shaner.
Joining the team are offensive lineman Jason Jones, formerly of the Milwaukee Mustangs, and fellow Arena Football League veteran Justin Parrish, a mac linebacker who spent last season with Power head coach Chris Siegfried’s former employer, the defending league champion Jacksonville Sharks.
“Jason and Justin are seasoned AFL contributors,” Siegfried said Tuesday. “They both provide versatility and experience.”
Jones, a 6’4″, 345-pound Idaho alumnus, spent most of his AFL rookie season with the Mustangs after having a cup of coffee with another of the Power’s East Division rivals, the Cleveland Gladiators. The 30-year-old played sparingly on the defensive line for both teams, but his true value came on the other side of the ball. He caught nine passes for 103 yards and one TD as a fullback for the Mustangs, also running twice for seven yards.
This could effectively eliminate the hole at fullback created by Josh Rue’s dismissal toward the end of last season. Either Jones can play the position himself, or he can share it with 2011 rookie Mike Lucian, who has rejoined the Power.
Parrish is no stranger to success as a defensive player, and he’s no stranger to the tri-state area, either. He starred at Kent State, setting a program record with 35 career sacks before an unsuccessful tryout with the Washington Redskins.
He then built his arena football resume with the Ohio Valley Greyhounds of Ultimate Indoor Football (the Greyhounds were based in Wheeling, WV) and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers of now-defunct AF2, the original AFL’s developmental league.
In two seasons with the Sharks, the 27-year-old Parrish recorded 50 total tackles (34 solo), seven sacks, five fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles, and four passes defended.
Parrish could give the Power more proven ability to either put heat in the quarterback’s kitchen, or provide support to a secondary that let down during a second-half skid in its inaugural season.
The Power’s final preseason roster, reportedly, will consist of 35 players. With an unofficial 14 spots available, here’s what that roster looks like so far:
QB Bill Stull
QB Kyle Rowley
WR Mike Washington
WR Lonnell Dewalt
WR Carlos Suggs
OL Jason Jones
OL Mike Lucian
OL Mike Byrne
OL Joe Blanks
OL Justin Wells
DL Terrance Taylor
DL Dominie Pittman
DL Neil Purvis
LB Anthony DeGrate
LB Justin Parrish
DB LaRico Stevenson
DB Bryan Williams
DB Tyrrell Herbert
DB Chris LeFlore
DB Ahmaad Smith
K Taylor Rowan
(Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mpopchock)