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Injury cuts short Hotshots-Apollos joint practice

Injury cuts short Hotshots-Apollos joint practice By Jose M. Romero, Arizona Hotshots Team Reporter SAN ANTONIO — The Arizona Hotshots’ joint practice with the Orlando Apollos ended early on Wednesday with an injury to Hotshots defensive back Kamari Cotton-Moya, who had to be carted off the field at University of the Incarnate Word. Cotton-Moya, who last played at Iowa State, was going for an interception when he landed awkwardly on his right leg. Two separate team drills were going on simultaneously, and as players and coaches realized what had happened on one side of the field, practice was abruptly halted and a hush came over the stadium. Many players kneeled around Cotton-Moya as he was being attended to by trainers, who put a brace over his leg. After a few minutes, he was helped onto a cart and offered handshakes and well wishes from players from both Alliance teams. Both head coaches, Rick Neuheisel of Arizona and Steve Spurrier of Orlando, decided to call it a day. Practice wasn’t far from ending as scheduled before the injury. “We both had the same idea. We don’t need two guys hurt today,” Spurrier said. “You don’t want anybody playing with any caution,” Neuheisel said. “You’ve got to be playing and getting all your assignments done. If you’re thinking in the back of your mind about trying to stay safe, it’s just not the right thing to do.” Cotton-Moya had been playing safety in training camp, and his play had him in solid contention for a final roster spot. His injury was announced as a right knee injury with further testing and evaluation to come. “We gathered around him as a family,” Hotshots defensive back Devin Chappell said. “He’s in my position group. You never want to see a guy go down like that, especially for him and his family. He’s got kids. Hopefully everything is OK. But that’s just a part of football and it’s very unfortunate. Prayers for Kamari and his family and hoping for a speedy recovery.” Before the injury, both teams were able to get plenty of work against each other, which offered a new perspective for the Hotshots after nine days of going against only teammates in practice. There were one-on-one drills between both teams’ offensive and defensive linemen and the skill position players against the defensive backs and linebackers. The drills were lively with banter back and forth between players on both teams, and with both sides in pads, the hits came in pass rush and team drills. The practice was key for quarterbacks, who got to attack a true opposing defense. “The ball came out of his hand great,” Hotshots wide receiver Deion Holliman said of quarterback Trevor Knight, “and he gave our receivers a chance to show what we’ve got. The extra reps that we’ve been doing in practice paid off (Wednesday).” The most spirited one-on-one drills came when receivers ran routes against defensive backs, with every play celebrated on the sideline by the most successful unit. Chappell said he felt the Hotshots gained confidence from seeing how successful they could be against another team. […]

Hotshots’ Moore has more to show on football field, more to handle off the field

Hotshots’ Moore has more to show on football field, more to handle off the field By Jose M. Romero, Arizona Hotshots Team Reporter SAN ANTONIO —From being a former second-round draft pick in the NFL to a career- and near-life-threatening leg injury to no team and four kids to The Alliance of American Football, Rahim Moore has seen and lived the roller coaster of ups and downs that is pro football. At age 28, he’s a seasoned veteran hoping for another shot at the NFL, and the Arizona Hotshots might be the gateway to that second chance. Moore hasn’t played a down in a regular season game since the 2015 season for the Houston Texans, and signed with Arizona last year. He’s in training camp with the team now, competing for a roster spot while mentoring younger teammates with their own professional goals. The Alliance is where Moore says he can release all of his anger and frustration about being passed over by NFL teams. “I feel like the way that I got out is not the way that I want to go out. I’m still young. I have a lot of great football ahead of me, Moore said. “I’ve had some issues where I didn’t get as equal of an opportunity as I thought I should, but that’s part of the NFL, everybody goes through it. When I heard about this league I said ‘You know what, this is the only opportunity I have.” Moore wants his children to understand what his job is and how he provides for them. “I never planned to play for seven, eight years. I want to play longer than that. I’m a husband now, I have four children, so I want to be able to show my son that Daddy’s a football player, along with being his father and being his caretaker,” Moore said. “I’m nowhere near done. The drive and the focus is still there, the hunger is still there.” NFL MEMORIES, ALLIANCE OPPORTUNITY The defensive back from Los Angeles is reunited with his college coach from UCLA, Rick Neuheisel. He had 10 interceptions as a sophomore in 2009, and by 2012 was in his second year in the NFL with the Denver Broncos. “Every time you’re out there on that field you have to cherish it. You never know when it’s your last time,” Moore said. “So the memories that I have being in the NFL is that I gave it all I had. Some was fantastic, some was good, some was catastrophic. But that’s part of a career. “I’m focusing on the Hotshots. That’s my NFL team to me.” Neuheisel said he knows well what Moore is capable of doing. “He’s starting to take that leadership role,” Neuheisel said. “He’s a great guy to learn from,” teammate Jaleel Wadood said. “Loves to study film, all about football. Anytime he has something to say to the (defensive backs), I give him an ear so I can listen and just soak up what he has to give us.” In Texas with the Hotshots, Moore is playing loose and fast. He and his […]

Here’s the kicker: Three Takeaways from Tuesday’s Hotshots practice

Here’s the kicker: Three Takeaways from Tuesday’s Hotshots practice By Jose M. Romero, Arizona Hotshots Team Reporter SAN ANTONIO – Few ever expect a hefty lineman to make a 35-yard field goal, and a big man gets the opportunity daily in Arizona Hotshots practice while most players look on with curiosity. No one had ever made the kick, though, until Tuesday. Offensive lineman Hugh Thornton turned practice upside down when he booted his opportunity on a line drive through the uprights. Teammates mobbed Thornton, who raced to the sideline with his arms in the air. “He got me. He sucker-punched me,” Neuheisel said of the 6-3, 320-pound Thornton with a smile. “He striped it. Good for Hugh Thornton.” The Hotshots are currently operating without a kicker or punter in practice, choosing to evaluate non-specialists until such time as they feel they’re ready to sign one. HOTSHOTS VS. APOLLOS The Hotshots will move practice across town to the University of The Incarnate Word on Wednesday for a joint workout with the Orlando Apollos. It will give both teams a chance to test themselves against new competition. Neuheisel said he’d like to see more of the same progress the team has made in practice, and hopes to see the Hotshots display an understanding of schemes on offense and defense. “We all know there’s going to be a competitive fervor in the air. It’s just the nature of the beast in this game,” he said. “But Coach (Steve) Spurrier and I are close friends and we’ll get the tempo we want.” The joint practice will also give the coaching staff an opportunity to further evaluate the roster. CAMP STANDOUTS Asked what players have stood out at camp thus far, Neuheisel chose not to name individuals. “There’s too many. We’ve got a bunch of great-looking guys that are working their tails off,” Neuheisel said. “Without naming names, the thing that struck me … is the attitude. We’ve got the right attitude.”

Teuhema brothers look to thrive on their own after years on same teams

Teuhema brothers look to thrive on their own after years on same teams By Jose M. Romero, Arizona Hotshots Team Reporter SAN ANTONIO — After years of playing football together from middle school to college, Sione and Maea Teuhema are finally on different teams. But the brothers from Keller, Texas somehow still aren’t far from each other today, as players in The Alliance. Sione, the elder brother and a linebacker for the Arizona Hotshots, is in training camp with his team minutes away from where Maea and his team, the San Antonio Commanders, are working out in preparation for The Alliance’s inaugural season. The Teuhemas were teammates at two universities — Louisiana State and Southeastern Louisiana. Now both seem content to go their separate ways. “I’m so happy we’re finally on different teams,” Maea said with a laugh. “We’ve been together our whole lives. I know once we play each other it’s going to be a good fight.” Sione, like his brother, felt it was time to move on from playing together. “I like that he’s on a different team so we can compete against each other like we always did when we were young,” Sione said. If all goes well and the brothers make it to The Alliance’s regular season on their respective rosters, the Teuhemas will find themselves on opposite sidelines and might even go head-to-head on the field when San Antonio and Arizona meet. The eagerness to play on separate teams doesn’t mean the brothers aren’t close. Family means a great deal to them as a big part of their Tongan roots. The brothers’ hometown is very close to Euless, Texas, a Dallas-area suburb with a large Tongan community. “Everybody’s tight, close together, family-oriented,” Sione said. “We just love everybody and stay close.” Faith is also a core value. Maea relied on prayer after being released by the New Orleans Saints last year, and believes it led to a shot with the Commanders in The Alliance. He’d hoped to go to the NFL after his junior year at LSU, but couldn’t afford to miss games as a senior due to a university-related matter. So he opted to transfer to Southeastern Louisiana to be with his brother and play a full season. “I was thinking I was done with football after the Saints let me go,” Maea said. “My mindset was bad. But I found God and I prayed about everything and He brought me back to football, so I’m grateful for this opportunity.” Members of the Teuhema family, like many Tongan Texans, were employed at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport when they first arrived to the U.S. The benefits included cheaper airfare back to the island for visits. Over time, the Polynesian community has grown and so has the participation in football, which is similar to Tonga’s most popular sport — rugby. Pride in their Polynesian roots runs deep for the brothers. They taught a haka, or traditional dance, to teammates when they were in middle school. Sione was moved by Alliance executive Troy Polamalu’s emotional speech on Jan. 4 to all of the league’s players the night […]

The Alliance announces starting times for inaugural season

The Alliance announces starting times for inaugural season staff You’ve already marked the date, February 9. Now you can mark the time. The Alliance of American Football has announced starting times for its inaugural season. CLICK HERE for complete season schedule and to BUY TICKETS No matter which team you follow — Arizona Hotshots, Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, Orlando Apollos, Salt Lake Stallions, San Antonio Commanders or the San Diego Fleet — now you know when the fun will begin. Led by some of the most respected football minds in the game, the Alliance of American Football is a dynamic professional football league fueled by an unprecedented Alliance between players, fans and the game. Founded by TV and film producer Charlie Ebersol and Hall of Famer Bill Polian, The Alliance will feature eight teams with 52-player rosters playing a 10-week regular season schedule in the spring beginning February 9 on CBS, followed by two playoff rounds and culminating with the championship game on April 27. Here’s the schedule (ALL TIMES EASTERN, and subject to change): Week 1 Saturday, Feb. 9 — Atlanta at Orlando, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Saturday, Feb. 9 — San Diego at San Antonio, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, Feb. 10 — Memphis at Birmingham, 2 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, Feb. 10 — Salt Lake at Arizona, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Week 2 Saturday, Feb. 16 — Salt Lake at Birmingham, 3 p.m. | TICKETS Saturday, Feb. 16 — Arizona at Memphis, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, Feb. 17 — Orlando at San Antonio, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, Feb. 17 — Atlanta at San Diego, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Week 3 Saturday, Feb. 23 — Arizona at Salt Lake, 3 p.m. | TICKETS Saturday, Feb. 23 — Memphis at Orlando, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, Feb. 24 — Birmingham at Atlanta, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, Feb. 24 — San Antonio at San Diego, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Week 4 Saturday, March 2 — Orlando at Salt Lake, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Saturday, March 2 — San Diego at Memphis, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 3 — San Antonio at Birmingham, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 3 — Atlanta at Arizona, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Week 5 Saturday, March 9 — Orlando at Birmingham, 2 p.m. | TICKETS Saturday, March 9 — Salt Lake at San Diego, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 10 — Memphis at Atlanta, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 10 — San Antonio at Arizona, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Week 6 Saturday, March 16 — Memphis at Salt Lake, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Saturday, March 16 — Arizona at Orlando, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 17 — San Antonio at Atlanta, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 17 — Birmingham at San Diego, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Week 7 Saturday, March 23 — Orlando at Atlanta, 3 p.m. | TICKETS Saturday, March 23 — Salt Lake at San Antonio, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 24 — San Diego at Arizona, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 24 — Birmingham at Memphis, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Week 8 Saturday, March 30 — Orlando at Memphis, 2 p.m. | […]

New week, new looks: Three takeaways from Hotshots practice

New week, new looks: Three Takeaways from Hotshots practice By Jose M. Romero, Arizona Hotshots Team Reporter SAN ANTONIO – Competition for the final roster is starting to heat up at Arizona Hotshots training camp, despite the low temperatures at practice Monday morning. Players are beginning to get snaps on the same units on offense and defense, but no depth chart is official, and head coach Rick Neuheisel said one could come later this week. Neuheisel liked what he saw from the Hotshots defense. “Got to just keep getting better,” Neuheisel said. “Came out, tried to do a little of everything instead of just focus on one part of the plan. Transitioning from situation to situation made us a little rougher but that’s all part of it.” Here are three takeaways from Monday’s practice, which started earlier than normal — about an hour — and took place with temperatures in the low 40s. For The Alliance The Hotshots arrived at practice to find the Atlanta Legends on their turf field. But although both teams lined up against each other, it was to continue testing technological applications for The Alliance.  The two teams took turns jogging through offensive and defensive formations, and business was done quickly. But a more involved joint practice is scheduled for Wednesday against the Orlando Apollos. “We’ll have one-on-one against one another, we’ll have seven-on-seven against one another, we’ll have a couple of team drills and then we’ll have a little bit of live work,” Neuheisel said. 2. Knocks and bumps Monday saw seven players miss practice, the most on one day since camp began. Wide receiver Rashad Ross, defensive backs Robert Nelson Jr. and Joe Brown III and linebacker Nyles Morgan were all out, joining previously injured defensive back SaQwan Edwards and linebacker Scooby Wright. Of the four most recent players to be held out, Neuheisel said no one’s injury was too serious. “It’s hard to make the club from the tub,” Neuheisel said. “So you’ve got to make sure you’re just taking care of your body. It’s a transition. We’ve got to be smart and yet we’ve got to also keep forging ahead.” Wide receiver Corey Willis was away from the team for the birth of his child and is expected to return in time for Tuesday’s practice. Offensive lineman Patrick Lewis, who played for the 2014 NFC champion Seattle Seahawks, was added to the roster and practiced Monday. 3. Mullaney Magic Wide receiver Richard Mullaney continues to make plays in practice, and his teammates are taking notice. Mullaney, who played in college at Oregon State and Alabama, shined in red-zone drills on Monday, catching every ball thrown to him and shedding coverage with regularity.