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Rampage QB Happy in Grand Rapids

by Randy Snow

Originally posted on ArenaFan.com, Sunday, February 24, 2008

Grand Rapids quarterback Adrian McPherson has seen a lot in his relatively short football career, some good, some not so good. As he heads into his third AFL season, things are looking up for him with a new coach and a new supporting cast around him.

McPherson was the Arena Football League Rookie of the Year in 2004 while playing for the Indiana Firebirds. He threw 61 touchdown passes that season and rushed for 19 more.

The Firebirds folded after McPhersonís first season in the League and he was picked up by the Nashville Kats in a dispersal draft. He never played for the Kats, however. Instead, he entered the NFL Draft in 2005 and was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the fifth round.

In 2006, McPherson was injured during halftime of a preseason game between the Saints and the Tennessee Titans when the Titans mascot, T-Rac, accidentally struck him while driving off the field in a golf cart. McPherson was waiting to catch a punt during warm ups and did not see the cart coming.

He returned to the Arena Football League last year as quarterback of the Austin Wranglers. He started eight games and soon after, he was released. He was then picked up by the Rampage and started the final three games for Grand Rapids last season after an injury to starter Chad Salisbury.

The Rampage hired new head coach Steve Thonn away from the Georgia Force during the off-season and McPherson is one of the few Rampage players remaining on the roster from last yearís squad.  

McPherson reflected on his past and present Arena training camp experiences after a recent scrimmage with the Cleveland Gladiators. ďIn Indiana, I was just lost. As a young kid I really didnít know the game, so it was just a little different for me. In Austin, I thought the training camp went well, but it didnít cater to some of my abilities. I thought we had great players, but I really didnít fit that system.

ďBut with Steve (Thonn), heís not only a great play caller, heís really good at listening to the players and working to the best of our abilities. Heís using the great system that he has and heís molding it to the players that he has. Steve went out and cleaned house (in Grand Rapids). He went out and got every player he wanted. He knew what kind of players would fit in his system and Iím excited about that.

ďIím a strong believer in everything happening for a reason. I couldnít understand why I was released by Austin and came here last year, but Iím as happy as a little kid right now. Itís a small market and the fans are excited about football. Iím looking for some great things this year.Ē

If McPherson can return to the form that made him the Leagueís Rookie of the Year in 2004, the fans in Grand Rapids will have much to cheer about in 2008.


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