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The Pittsburgh Power are one week from opening training camp. The Arena Football League team already has invited the maximum allowable 35 players, and although that number still holds, some last minute additions and subtractions have been made.
Veteran quarterback Andrico Hines and young defensive lineman Moqut Ruffins have accepted assignments, while offensive linemen Mike Byrne and Joe Blanks have been placed on recallable reassignment.
Byrne was placed there retroactive to Jan. 30, and Blanks retroactive to Jan. 19. Former Seton-LaSalle and Pitt quarterback Bill Stull, who was claimed from the former ArenaBowl champion Spokane Shock late last season, was placed on recallable reassignment over a month ago, making room for Hines.
In AFL vernacular, recallable reassignment means the team that waived the player in question has 48 hours to reclaim him. Otherwise, he is free to sign with another team. However, this does not rule out the possibility of that player later rejoining said team at a later time; none of the three players recently released by the Power have been claimed yet.
As the team prepares for its sophomore season, Ruffins, 27, will compete for a job with a group of defensive linemen that includes 2011 returnees and arena football veterans Terrance Taylor and Neil Purvis, as well as former Pitt starter Tommie Duhart.
An AFL team can carry 21 players on its active roster and three players on its inactive roster.
Ruffins (6’5″, 300 lbs.), a former Louisiana Tech standout earned All-WAC honors as a senior in 2005, and has amassed 11 catches for 93 yards and four TD’s, as well as 18 total tackles (16 solo) over two years with the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings/New Orleans VooDoo.
New Power defensive coordinator Derek Stingley served as his head coach in New Orleans for the first three months of the 2011 season.
Byrne, who starred in high school at Manheim Central and once tried out unsuccessfully with the Miami Dolphins, played sparingly with the Power in 2011, recording two catches for 11 yards and one solo tackle. Blanks, the nephew of Tae-Bo creator Billy Blanks, has spent time in the AFL with the Dallas Vigilantes and Cleveland Gladiators, and in minor arena football leagues.
The 31-year-old Hines played his college ball at Middle Tennessee State, and he also has connections to the Power’s coaching staff, having suited up for the Shock and Battle Wings when both were members of the now-defunct AF2 developmental league. Power head coach Chris Siegfried coached the Shock for their 2006 expansion season, and Hines was one of the franchise’s first QB’s.
Hines appeared briefly with the Cleveland Gladiators last season, throwing for 102 yards and two scores in an 82-21 win over the San Jose SaberCats, with whom he has also played.
It’s interesting the Power didn’t bring Stull to camp after he made such a good first impression on his hometown team last year (six TD’s and no picks in a season-ending win at Philadelphia), but not surprising Siegfried wanted to boost the team’s level of experience at the most important position on the indoor gridiron. Hines would likely back up former ArenaBowl MVP Kyle Rowley, who came to Pittsburgh from Spokane in the fall.
Here is what the Power’s revised training camp roster looks like:
QB Kyle Rowley
QB Andrico Hines
WR Mike Washington
WR Lonnell Dewalt
WR/KR P.J. Berry
WR Carlos Suggs
WR Darius Passmore
WR Perry Baker
WR Randy Hymes
WR Oderick Turner
OL Jason Jones
OL Mike Lucian
OL Moqut RuffinsREAD MORE: Mon Wharf To Be Closed After Flood Advisory Issued
OL Justin Wells
OL Corey Konycki
OL Dan Jones
OL Tommy Crowley
OL Beau Elliott
DL Tommie Duhart
DL Terrance Taylor
DL Dominie Pittman
DL Neil Purvis
DL Jada Brown
DL Aaron Harris
DL Callahan Bright
FB/LB Tyre Young
LB Anthony DeGrate
LB Justin Parrish
DB Bryan Williams
DB Tyrrell Herbert
DB Chris LeFlore
DB Ahmaad Smith
DB Knowledge Timmons
DB Josh Lay
K Taylor Rowan
Check back next Friday for more camp coverage.
The Power will play their first home game of the season Fri., Mar. 23, when the Philadelphia Soul come to town for an 8:00 P.M. kickoff. The 2012 regular season will feature nine games at CONSOL Energy Center, as well as expanded television coverage:
Click here for more information, including a full TV schedule.MORE NEWS: Neville Island Bridge Lane Restrictions To Take Effect Monday
(Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mpopchock)