By Matt Popchock
For those former footballers in western Pennsylvania–and beyond–who might have missed out on their first opportunity to play pro ball in Pittsburgh, a second chance is on the way.
The Pittsburgh Power announced Friday morning they will host a second open tryout Sun., Nov. 20. For the second time in a row the event will be held at the Southpointe Fieldhouse in Cecil Township, and it will run from 8:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.
Multiple contracts were reportedly awarded to players who auditioned at the initial 2011 open tryout, which was held at the beginning of the month. However, the Power, entering their second season in the Arena Football League, have made significant progress in free agency, signing arena football stars like quarterback Kyle Rowley, wide receiver P.J. Berry, and offensive lineman Joe Blanks (a nephew of Tae-Bo creator Billy Blanks). So their training camp roster is already filling out quite nicely.
But a dozen more spots remain until that roster is complete, and head coach Chris Siegfried remains eager to fill them.
“I really liked what I saw [at the previous tryout],” he said Friday. “We still have needs at several positions, and the guys on our radar only scratch the surface of the available talent that’s out there in western Pennsylvania.”
It’s an interesting take from Siegfried, considering his willingness to look beyond this region for talent after fielding a very localized 2011 squad, a number of whom got their first dosage of arena football experience in the team’s inaugural season.
“If those guys are from Pittsburgh, it’s a bonus. We just want to try and get better,” Siegfried said after the Oct. 1 tryout.
“Talent is talent. We just want to improve on 9-9 from last season, because 9-9 isn’t going to win you a championship. Wherever that talent comes from, we’ll take it,” added second-year receiver Mike Washington after that tryout.
Washington, who made the team after its first-ever open tryout in the fall of 2010, helped the coaching staff oversee the first open tryout of 2011. In addition to the former Aliquippa standout, former Penn Hills and Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli also earned a roster spot after attending last year’s tryout.
Morelli is gone, but another PSU signal-caller, program record-setter Daryll Clark, tried out for the Power several weeks ago and impressed Siegfried. In addition, former Duquesne/Pitt defensive back Elijah Fields has tried out two years in a row, though he has not been offered a contract thus far.
In any event, Siegfried recently told 93.7 The Fan that player enthusiasm for the relatively new franchise is building, hinting that significant changes could still be on the way at certain positions, so it’ll be interesting to see if any of those positions are addressed after Nov. 20.
“We need to build from the foundation we started last year…and then grow from there with the combination of veterans we have available, and young rookies who can challenge those veterans for starting positions,” Siegfried said Oct. 1.
Visit the Pittsburgh Power’s website for information on how to register.
(Follow the Power on Twitter: twitter.com/AFLPittsburgh)
(Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mpopchock)