High-hopes homecoming in Arizona for ‘Berco’

Mike Bercovici

By Doug Miller

Football fans familiar with Sun Devil Stadium remember Mike Bercovici with a smile, and now they have the possibility of picking up where they left off with “Berco” under center.

Bercovici, the popular former Arizona State quarterback, is one of the players on the roster of the new professional team that will play in Tempe, the Arizona Hotshots of The Alliance of American Football, which makes its innovative, elite-level debut on ASU’s home field in February 2019.

Bercovici played quarterback for the Sun Devils from 2011-15, and in his senior season he threw for 3,854 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Bercovici joins a host of other former Sun Devils on the Valley of the Sun’s AAF roster, which is packed with local flavor. Running back Demario Richard and defensive players Will Sutton, Carl Bradford and D.J. Calhoun all wore the maroon and gold of ASU in their college days.

For Bercovici, it’s yet another chance at pro football after serving on NFL practice squads. Bercovici was added to the Arizona Cardinals roster after former starter Carson Palmer broke his left arm last October, and he expressed excitement at being back “home” that he will experience once again in The Alliance.

“To be here is a blessing,” Bercovici told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM website. “This is obviously a place where I feel really comfortable.”

Bercovici, like many of the players named on AAF rosters, went undrafted by the NFL after an excellent college career. Bercovici spent time with the Chargers, signing with them in May 2016 and going through training camp and the preseason before being waived that September.

He might not have taken a snap for the Chargers, but he learned a lot from one of the longest-standing quarterbacks in the NFL, Philip Rivers, and will take that knowledge with him to the Hotshots.

“Just about the Xs and Os of the game, being a leader and being the leader of an organization,” Bercovici said in an interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “There is so much cerebral part of the game. Everybody is talented at this level, but the terminology, multiple formations, motions … I feel really excited to take on a new playbook.”

He’ll be doing it again in February in one of his favorite places.