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The Legends bring joy to local San Antonio Children’s Hospital

The Legends bring joy to local San Antonio Children’s Hospital By Jaylon Thompson / The Alliance SAN ANTONIO – The Atlanta Legends visited the University Children’s Hospital in San Antonio Friday to spread cheer and lend their time to those in need. The Legends joined with the San Antonio Commanders to interact with children in various activities. Also, The Alliance head of football development Hines Ward was in attendance. Together, the players helped create Valentine’s Day arts and crafts, played games, and visited children in their hospital rooms. At each step, the Legends put smiles on the children’s faces. It was a joyous time as players learned more about the kids and what they are battling each day. It was an impactful event for many players. They were grateful for the chance to give back and help bring positive vibes in the process. “It’s a great feeling to be around and see the impact you can have on a kid,” Legends receiver James Clark said. “I am blessed to come out here and have this opportunity.” Throughout the day, the players helped make crafts that stayed with the patients. They also helped design personalized travel cups. In the game room, the players played games like Ping Pong Bounce among others. “It was a lot of fun and it makes you feel like a kid again,” Clark said. “Just to see the smile you put on their face by interacting with them is a great experience.” The children enjoyed the special visit. Each kid was happy to see the players and elated they spent a little time getting to know their stories. According to Jennifer Ibarra, the program manager for Child Life at University Health System, she was glad to see The Alliance giving back to the community. “It means everything to say hello and interacting with them,” Ibarra said. “Making that connection is special for the families and the kids. They know the players are doing their job and also taking the time to come visit with them.” The University Children’s Hospital is the Level 1 trauma hospital for pediatrics in South Texas. They get patients from all over the state. The ability to bring joy to the children is something that is a key outreach for the department. “Our job is to try to provide normalcy and a positive impact that brings smiles to the patients,” Ibarra said. Legends long snapper Jeff Overbaugh agrees. He was happy to help the kids have a moment to take their minds off their situation. “It’s awesome to give them a little break from what they are going through,” Overbaugh said. “It’s cool to see a smile on their face and have a conversation.” # # # Jaylon Thompson covers the Atlanta Legends for The Alliance of American Football. You can follow him on Twitter @JaylonThompson. # # # The Atlanta Legends home games will be played at Georgia State Stadium. Fans can purchase season tickets for as low as $75 at www.atlantalegends.com or by calling 470-798-3330.  

Five Takeaways: The Legends hit high gear against The Express

Five Takeaways: The Legends hit high gear against The Express By Jaylon Thompson, Atlanta Legends Team Reporter SAN ANTONIO — It was full-speed ahead for The Atlanta Legends as they competed in a joint practice with The Memphis Express on Thursday at the STAR Complex. The Legends didn’t opt for a seat belt as they rode the express train with an aggressive mentality. At the end of the ride, The Legends took away some positive results and information to use as training camp continues. “I thought overall we took a big step forward in today’s practice,” Legends head coach Kevin Coyle said. The joint practice featured a mix of team and individual drills. Both teams got work in the red zone and in two-minute sessions. There was also an overtime period to close out practice. Several players stood out on the day. Legends cornerback Doran Grant had an interception and tight end Charles Standberry hauled in two touchdowns. As a result, the Legends got better in one-on-one drills and progressed as a unit. HOW ‘BOUT THAT‼️ @AkronsVO_21 | #AllHailATL pic.twitter.com/UT0B7j3kfs — Atlanta Legends (@AafLegends) January 17, 2019 “I think we did a good job in all phases and we have to keep on improving every day,” Coyle said. “I think the players know that and saw some areas they need to improve. We are going to get to work on it right away.” Here are five takeaways from The Legends joint practice. Offense thrives in team drills The Legends’ offense found a new gear in team drills. Facing fourth down, the unit rallied behind a quarterback Peter Pujals. He connected with receiver Seantavius Jones for a 15-yard completion to pick up a first down. Three plays later, The Legends scored as Pujals hit running back Denard Robinson in the end zone with a nice pass over the middle. The touchdown gave the offense confidence. On their next possession, they marched down into field goal range to score three points. The overall performance left a good impression on the rest of the team. “We had a fourth-down play, and someone had to come up big in order to win,” Coyle said. “That happened today. We also came up big on defense with a couple fourth-down stops.” Matt Simms shines against Memphis Legends quarterback Matt Simms had a nice day against The Express. The University of Tennessee product was solid in individual drills and completed several passes in tight windows. Simms started his day by connecting with receiver James Clark on a 10-yard corner route. Later, he also found Standberry for a touchdown and Jones in the open field. Simms credits his success to just getting comfortable in the offense. As the playbook opens up, he continues to find a rhythm as a signal caller. “I have been opening up the playbook and trusting my abilities,” Simms said. “I am letting it rip and today I felt like I did a lot of positive things against a new defense.” Easy $$$ #AllHailATL@DenardX x @JeffLuc1 pic.twitter.com/vKUsuH7gVP — Atlanta Legends (@AafLegends) January 17, 2019 Legends front seven wreak havoc The Legends’ defense has flown […]

Coaches Corner: Thompson highlights fundamentals in Legends camp

Coaches Corner: Thompson highlights fundamentals in Legends camp By Jaylon Thompson, Atlanta Legends Team Reporter SAN ANTONIO – Atlanta Legends defensive line coach Leroy Thompson doesn’t mind getting in the trenches with his players. In fact, he enjoys it. “You start to build a little Rolodex in your head of certain positions,” Thompson said. “It’s good to see what speed and power look like and how to stop it on the other side.” After 13 seasons in the Arena Football League, Thompson is back between the lines he loved as a kid. The game has never left, but his heart is on a new path. Now, he wants to teach and motivate the next generation. “I try to instill in my players to not worry about what you can’t control,” Thompson said. “They have to worry about what they can control. I will continue to push them towards that.” In the early stages of Legends camp, Thompson has already left his mark. He is a vocal leader among the coaching staff and has earned respect from every player. The defensive line has flourished under his leadership. His unit has made significant strides in practice and been dominant on the field. Players like defensive end J.T. Jones and Tavaris Barnes have come along way and feasted in team drills. The secret to their success is all in the fundamentals. Thompson calls it the E.D.D. or Every Day Drills that have pushed the unit towards prosperity. Those drills include utilizing sleds, tackling dummies, hoops, and cones. Each drill focuses on a core workout that enhances the muscles and builds a consistent technique. “All these drills are critical for a defensive lineman to be successful,” Thompson said. “I believe the everyday fundamental drills makes the defensive line go.” The drills have been beneficial to defensive lineman Antonio Simmons. He has grown under Thompson and has taken every lesson to heart. He has spent time after practice working on different techniques to build his skill set. “(Coach Thompson) is teaching the ins and outs of the game from hand placements to bending around the edge,” Simmons said. “It’s all about the get-off and placing our hands.” Thompson’s ability to motivate comes from one of his biggest inspirations. After registering 30 sacks at Delaware State and rushing for 1,000 yards in the AFL, Thompson formed a friendship with Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy. The duo became close friends after playing together with the Columbus Destroyers. Nagy helped Thompson get into coaching and has stayed in contact throughout his journey. Thompson leans on him for advice and appreciates Nagy from helping him land with The Legends. “He has been helping me along the way as a resource and a friend,” Thompson said. “He has connected with people and helped get me opportunities to work with different teams.” Thompson now hopes to make his mark with The Legends. It starts with helping the guys reach the next level in their development. “It’s going to take effort and hard work to flash on film,” Thompson said. “It takes them being ready every day in the classroom and […]

Legends progress on Day 10 of training camp

Legends progress on Day 10 of training camp By Jaylon Thompson, Atlanta Legends Team Reporter SAN ANTONIO – Atlanta Legends defensive end J.T. Jones spent several minutes attacking a tackling dummy after Tuesday’s Legends practice at Dub Farris Sports Complex. Using a large circular ring, Jones simulated his speed and balance around the edge. Each rep hit harder than the next. He ended the session with a thunderous sack that put an exclamation mark on a job well done. The after-practice workout symbolized two things for Jones. It showed his willingness to lead by example and his hunger to be the best athlete on the field. Throughout practice, Jones continued his impressive start in team drills. He was disruptive in the backfield and snuffed out several screens. He also recorded a couple quarterback hurries and had a pass breakup. His activity energized The Legends defense. The front seven ruled the day with solid pressure and gap penetration. In individual drills, the unit focused on getting stronger at finishing with a low pad level. Offensively, The Legends had a good day. In seven-on-seven drills, the unit was able to move the ball through the middle of the field. The offense relied on quick reads and short dig routes to collect first downs in the period. As practice concluded, Legends head coach Kevin Coyle addressed the team. He was proud of the way the guys practiced and how they showed leadership on the field. Here are three takeaways from practice. Emory Healthcare and The Atlanta Legends announce team healthcare partnership Emory Healthcare and The Atlanta Legends have entered into a health care partnership that designates Emory Healthcare as the Official Team Medical Services Provider of the Atlanta Legends. “We are thrilled to offer The Legends access to Emory Sports Medicine’s world-class physicians and treatment,” said Atlanta Legends President David Livingston. “This partnership will be great for our team and we are looking forward to building a foundation of holistic health and wellness for all of The Alliance of American Football players.” Running backs work on their first-step release Legends running backs spent a sizable portion of practice working on different techniques in the passing game. They focused on the “chip and release” drill that allows them to engage an oncoming defender and slip into the open field. The drill was useful in team activities. Running back Bronson Hill sprung free on a well-timed screen pass and teammates Denard Robinson, Lawrence Pittman and Tarean Folston burst through running lanes later in practice.  Deniko Carter One-Handed Catch During individual sessions, Deniko Carter put on a show by reeling in a one-handed catch. He snagged the pass after making a singular cut on a slant route. The play impressed some of the coaches as he continues to showcase his unique skill set. We see you, @NeekDaKing. #AllHailATL pic.twitter.com/18Tas5Nf4W — Atlanta Legends (@AafLegends) January 15, 2019 Atlanta Legends home games will be played at Georgia State Stadium. Fans can purchase season tickets for as low as $75 at  www.atlantalegends.com or by calling 470-798-3330.

Charles Standberry leads by example in Legends camp

Charles Standberry leads by example in Legends camp By Jaylon Thompson, Atlanta Legends Team Reporter SAN ANTONIO – Atlanta Legends tight end Charles Standberry has turned heads in the early stages of training camp. At 6-foot-3, Standberry has progressed in base formations with The Legends. However, it’s his ability to stretch the field that makes him an attractive option in the team’s passing attack. Standberry has a knack for being elusive. On the field, he is slippery at the point of attack. He does a good job of weaving through traffic and working the interior of the field. He also shown the ability to catch difficult passes in coverage. As a result, he’s earned first-team reps and displayed leadership along the way. “I am learning everything from the basics and putting it out on the field,” Standberry said. “We do a lot of film work and those are things that matter. I do a lot of studying and try to bring it out at practice.” At Tuesday’s practice, Standberry did his homework on an inside running play. He set the edge and engaged a key block in the secondary. The play sprung Legends running back Denard Robinson for a first down. It was a crucial sequence as the Legends are aiming to use two tight ends in their rushing attack. “I have improved on my footwork in the running game,” Standberry said. “It’s one thing that I’m working on as I know I can run routes. I just want to make sure I am cleaning everything up in the run game.” As Standberry shines on the field, he is also showing leadership in team activities. He is a voice in the tight end room and broke down the position group after practice. “We are all in it together,” Standberry said. “I am a leader and I feel like God put me here to be a leader. It is one thing I am going to do and that is lead for the most part.” The Legends tight end group includes players like Jake Sutherland of Morehead State and Keith Towbridge of Louisville. The unit has drawn favorable comparisons and been productive in team drills. According to Legends quarterback Aaron Murray, he is thrilled with the growth of the group. “I feel good about this tight end group we have at camp,” Murray said. “They are built to play the tight end position in this offense. They are big, talented, athletic guys that make great one-on-one matchups against a defense. I’m excited to see how they continue to develop during camp.” The Legends are back at practice on Wednesday. For Standberry, the practice is another chance for him and his teammates to get better. “I’m going to work hard and set the best example for my group,” Standberry said. Atlanta Legends home games will be played at Georgia State Stadium. Fans can purchase season tickets for as low as $75 at  www.atlantalegends.com or by calling 470-798-3330.

Brothers For Life: Shaq Wiggins and Corey Griffin share bond 17 years in making

Brothers For Life: Shaq Wiggins and Corey Griffin share bond 17 years in making By Jaylon Thompson, Atlanta Legends Team Reporter SAN ANTONIO – Atlanta Legends defensive back Corey Griffin still remembers winning a high school state championship in the Georgia Dome. In 2012, Griffin led the Sandy Creek Patriots to a 45-10 win over the Ridgeland Panthers in his final game of his high school career. As he stood on the podium, he couldn’t hold back his emotions. Griffin was happy to hoist a state title and he couldn’t hold back his emotions. “That was a great year winning the state championship,” Griffin said. “It was probably one of the greatest feelings I felt in a long time.” During the trophy presentation, Griffin looked over his shoulder. He broke out a huge smile as he saw teammate Shaq Wiggins celebrating right by his side. Wiggins was also apart of the 2012 Patriots team. He was the team’s shutdown cornerback and a key cog in former Sandy Creek head coach Chip Walker’s defense. Once he saw Griffin, the duo embraced in celebration. Years later, the childhood friends are back in Atlanta trying to win another championship with The Legends. “It’s a good feeling and it brings back memories,” Wiggins said. “He is actually my roommate and it feels like old times. It’s good to have someone here I have been knowing since I was six or seven years old out there with me.” Wiggins and Griffin have been friends for nearly 17 years. Both grew up on the south side of Atlanta and have remained close ever since. Prior to Sandy Creek, Griffin and Wiggins first shared a field in a youth football league. Wiggins played for the Ben Hill Tigers and Griffin played for the Old National Knights. The duo eventually bonded and developed a chemistry on and off the field. The friendship has factored into major decisions like where to go for college. After Wiggins committed to the University of Georgia, it was Griffin that asked him for advice on where to attend school. Wiggins was completely honest. He told Griffin to follow his heart and enroll at Georgia Tech. “I told him he should go to Georgia Tech,” Wiggins said. “It was never a rivalry. I just wanted to see the best for my boy.” The decision worked out for both players. Wiggins went on to start at Georgia before enrolling at Tennessee and Louisville in his college career. Griffin starred at Georgia Tech, where he posted 168 tackles and three interceptions as a Yellow Jacket. In the early stages of training camp, the duo has stood out together. Wiggins has established himself as one of The Legends’ top cornerbacks. He is strong in press coverage and great in contesting 50-50 balls. Griffin has flashed potential as a perennial safety in the secondary. Griffin has shown great awareness and prevented multiple receptions. “Shaq is a technician,” Griffin said. “He works on the small things and it’s something you don’t see in a lot of people. He really harps on those small details.” Many times, The Legends have […]

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