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San Antonio Commanders Name Jim Grobe Defensive Coordinator SAN ANTONIO, Texas – October 9, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football’s San Antonio Commanders today announced additions to head coach Mike Riley’s staff. Jim Grobe joins as defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach, Bill Bradley will serve as defensive backs coach and Joe Baker has been named run defense coordinator and outside linebackers coach. “We want to put our players in the best position to succeed both on and off the field, and the hiring of coach Grobe, Bradley and Baker adds decades of invaluable football experience to our staff,” said Coach Riley. “I’m proud of what we’re building here in San Antonio. We want to play fast, hard and smart, giving this city an exciting brand of football that they can rally around and enjoy.” Jim Grobe, Defensive Coordinator / Inside Linebackers Coach Jim Grobe most recently served as the interim head football coach of Baylor University for the 2016 season. He led the Baylor Bears to a seventh consecutive bowl game, defeating Boise State 31-12 in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl. From 2001-2013 Grobe was the head football coach at Wake Forest University. In 2006, Grobe was named ACC Coach of the Year by a unanimous vote and AP Coach of the Year after guiding the Demon Deacons to an 11-2 regular season, an ACC Championship and the program’s first BCS bowl game. Bill Bradley, Defensive Backs Coach A Texas native, Bill Bradley began his coaching career as a defensive backs coach in the USFL from 1983-1985, first with the San Antonio Gunslingers and then the Memphis Showboats. From 1988-1990, Bradley was a defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator for the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL. Bradley linked up with San Antonio Commanders head coach Mike Riley in the World League of American Football as defensive back coach from 1991-1993, before returning to the CFL and winning two Grey Cups with the Toronto Argonauts. Bradley’s success led to his transition to the NFL, where he served as defensive backs coach for the Buffalo Bills (1998-2000) and New York Jets (2001-2003). He would go on to serve as defensive backs coach at Baylor University (2004-2006), secondary coach for the San Diego Chargers (2006-2008), secondary coach for the Florida Tuskers of the UFL (2009-2010), and defensive coordinator at Lamar University (2012-2014). Prior to coaching, Bradley played defensive back at The University of Texas, setting the Texas and Southwest Conference records for most interceptions in a game when he picked off Texas A&M four times his senior year. Bradley earned three All-Pro selections (1971–73) at free safety for the Philadelphia Eagles, leading the league in interceptions in both 1971 and 1972. Joe Baker, Run Defense Coordinator / Outside Linebackers Coach Joe Baker has spent the last 22 years as an NFL coach, most recently serving as the secondary coach for the Dallas Cowboys. Baker joined the Cowboys in 2012 as the assistant secondary coach. He moved to safeties in 2014, and was promoted to secondary coach in 2016. Baker started his NFL coaching career in 1995 with the Jacksonville Jaguars as […]

Over Five Hundred Players Signed to The Alliance

The Alliance of American Football has reached a milestone in player acquisition, signing over 500 players to contracts for the 2019 inaugural season. The mark was surpassed with the latest batch of signings highlighted below, bringing the total to 515 players signed to contracts. “As we get closer to our first snap on February 9th, our experienced general managers and personnel teams have been working around the clock to build their rosters and offer players a chance to begin, extend or revitalize their careers,” said Bill Polian, co-founder, The Alliance. “I know the pressure and dedication that goes into building a championship-caliber team and it’s been exciting to see our rosters fill up with talented athletes that have come from all over the country – from small universities in the Midwest to powerhouse SEC schools and successful NFL franchises. They are all vying for another shot in professional football.” “Each day, when I see the personnel notice come across my desk, I’m reminded of why The Alliance is a league of opportunity — these players deserve a chance to continue their football careers and I’m honored they chose The Alliance,” said Charlie Ebersol, co-founder, The Alliance. “With our Super Bowl champion league executives, our best-in-class coaches and general managers, these players will take the field in February prepared and supported by those who have been there before them with an opportunity to compete at a high level in front of passionate, engaged fans. We welcome these 515 players to The Alliance.” Rosters Arizona Hotshots Atlanta Legends Birmingham Iron Memphis Express Orlando Apollos Salt Lake Stallions San Antonio Commanders San Diego Fleet

Introducing the San Antonio Commanders

QB Knight returns home, eager to excel

By Mark Newman Trevor Knight turns 25 on Oct. 3, and it will be hard to top his favorite birthday present of all time. “My trampoline,” he said. “That provided me with countless hours of entertainment for years and years. We used to put it up to the basketball goal and play slam-ball, and me and my brother would be out there and get into a bunch of fights, so that was probably the best one.” The new San Antonio Commanders of The Alliance of American Football are offering an opportunity that could give the old trampoline a run for its money. He would love nothing more than to bounce back into a high-impact position at the helm of an offense, and coming home to this city as a freshly signed QB is a golden opportunity. Knight should be among the fan favorites when Commanders camp opens in November. As a senior at Ronald Reagan High School, he threw for 2,092 yards and 27 touchdowns, along with 943 rushing yards for 15 TDs. He was ranked as the sixth best dual-threat quarterback recruit by the recruiting network, back then, and Knight chose to play at Oklahoma, along with twin brother and slam-ball rival Connor. As a Sooner, Knight threw for 348 yards and four TDs to win Sugar Bowl MVP honors in a 45-31 upset of Alabama, stopping the Crimson Tide in its bid for a third straight national championship. Knight took numerous big-time snaps at Oklahoma over two seasons, accumulating 3,424 yards and 25 TDs in 24 games, but losing the starting job to Baker Mayfield. Knight moved on in 2016 to Texas A&M as a graduate transfer. Knight transferred there with no guarantees, and it paid off big. Those aforementioned thoughts about his favorite birthday present came in a get-to-know-him video interview for Gigem247 that December, and it was during his rise in popularity all over the campus. In 2016, Knight started 11 games for Texas A&M, leading the Aggies to a 7-1 start and eventually an 8-5 record. He completed 53.3 percent of his passes for 2,432 yards, 19 TDS and seven interceptions. He added 614 yards and 10 TDs on the ground in his one year, leading the team in rushing as a QB. “I’m excited about the future,” Knight said at Aggies Pro Day in the spring of 2017. “You pour so much into this, day in and day out, and when it’s over, you don’t really know what’s next. My future’s not certain. Just that stability of every Saturday being able to compete, it’s tough to walk away from.” Knight showed great athleticism at the subsequent NFL Combine, outperforming all other QBs in the 40 at 4.54 seconds. He was able to show off arm strength with deep throws. He was seen as a likely mid-round draft pick or at least a free agent signee, and the latter proved true, as the Arizona Cardinals signed him to a three-year contract at $555,000 per year, but releasing him before that season began. He then made the Atlanta Falcons practice squad before being released, and […]

Robinson resumes quest to impress

By Doug Miller Khiry Robinson knows what it’s like to go above and beyond for recognition, to surprise people with an undeniable impact on the football field. The running back did it when he came out of NAIA Division II West Texas A&M to sign with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2013 after a tryout. He would go on to gain 224 yards in 10 NFL games that year and help the Saints beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs. Robinson backed up Mark Ingram in 2014 and played well in 2015 until a broken leg ended his season. He ended up gaining 766 yards while part of New Orleans coach Sean Payton’s rotation of running backs and scored eight touchdowns. Robinson broke his leg the next year in a preseason game for the Jets and continued to suffer leg injuries that led to his release from the NFL in March 2017. Now he’s back, trying to prove himself again. Robinson signed with the San Antonio franchise in The Alliance of American Football, and he’ll be ready to go when that elite-level spring-schedule venture kicks off its first regular-season games Feb. 9, 2019. Robinson has been fighting for his whole professional career. Back in 2014, at the height of his NFL presence, looking back as a product of the Canyon, Texas, program that hadn’t exactly made him a household name, Robinson told ESPN: “it was all about having faith.” “So I didn’t get drafted, I didn’t get picked up, you know,” he said then. “But it all worked out for me. I just kept my head high, kept my faith and kept working hard. And I’m here today to help the team win. I’m happy for that.” It figures to be just as tough if not tougher for Robinson now. He’s had serious leg injuries, and he’s 28 years old. But he’s also experienced. He has been through the NFL grind. He’s entering a situation where opportunity is there for him to impress the people he needs to impress. But he’s been through this before, and his words from 2014 can be repeated if he succeeds in this next opportunity. “I just wait for my number to be called,” Robinson said. “And when my number’s called, I try to do something great so I can get it called again.”

Riley will prepare Commanders to fly

By Lyle Spencer The Alliance of American Football is new and exciting to Mike Riley, and to everyone else involved, but San Antonio isn’t new to him. He has coached in the Alamo City before. Taking his drive back to San Antonio to compete in a brand new league that kicks off the week following the NFL Super Bowl is as natural to Riley as breathing. It might be a cliche, but it’s as accurate as Tom Brady under pressure. Mike Riley was born to be a coach. It’s in his blood, inherited from a man, Bud Riley, who loved and coached football and passed his passion along. Like father, like son. The ride started when Mike Riley drove Corvallis High School to two Oregon state title games, winning one, and it’s been there ever since, across four decades of coaching collegians and pros. “I kind of fell in love with the idea of the team and the whole idea behind strategy and technique,” Riley said. “That’s just always what I was going to do. I never was going to be a fireman… I knew I was going to be a coach. I knew I was going to be in football from the beginning, and I’m very grateful for that.” Riley will teach athletes those techniques he has known virtually since birth, as a teen quarterback and then as a defensive back at the University of Alabama. Going back to his earliest days as a QB who could run and throw and lead, Riley has always loved a wide-open attack. San Antonio fans can expect their team to “fly around and have fun,” one of his favorite expressions. Riley jumped into coaching after his playing days ended, and it’s been a wildly entertaining ride ever since. Riley spent six years cutting his coaching teeth as a defensive coordinator at Linfield College in Oregon before moving north to coach, as his father had, in the Canadian Football League. After serving as an assistant, Riley took the head reins of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at 33, winning two Grey Cups in four seasons. Next came the San Antonio Riders of the WLAF, where he was 11-9 in two seasons before the team folded in 1993. Moving to the University of Southern California, Riley enjoyed great success as John Robinson’s offensive coordinator and QB coach. The Trojans won bowl games in three of Riley’s four seasons, and his next move brought him back to Corvallis. Riley spent two seasons as OSU’s head coach, implementing a pro-style attack and establishing a talent base that would thrive in a highly competitive conference before accepting the San Diego Chargers’ head coaching job. After three seasons with the Bolts, going 14-34, he assisted with the New Orleans Saints for a year before returning home to the work that probably best defines his career.      From 2003 through 2014, wildly entertaining Oregon State teams went 93-80, winning five consecutive bowl games and six of eight overall. Riley directed three quarterbacks who went on to play in the NFL: Sean Canfield, Matt Moore, and Derek Anderson. While he is […]

Commanders swagger into San Antonio

By Mark Newman When The Alliance of American Football announced earlier this year that San Antonio would represent Texas as one of eight teams on this exciting new stage, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said: “We are a big-league city, and The Alliance is big-league sports. This provides an opportunity for us to have a professional football team we can call our own.” Now they have a name for that team. The San Antonio Commanders. The team announced its new name on Tuesday, a big step on the road to the Commanders’ season opener Feb. 9. This much-anticipated choice appropriately reflects the essence of Military City, USA. It’s an undeniable emotional connection with a city and its people — a tribute to San Antonio’s collaborative spirit, its many victories, and its three centuries of military presence now embodied by so many Army and Air Force families. Look closely at the new team logo that comes with a new team name, and you can see why it’s time to show support. The Commanders will sport a sword on their logo, which resembles a military patch. You also see the iconic mission edifice in the logo, a nod to that rich military past and the ringing shout out: “Remember the Alamo.”  The Lone Star of Texas shines brightly at the bottom of the shield. Courage and bravery are real in San Antonio. The name stands for a stalwart defense that always makes a stand and an explosive offense with lightning-strike strength, precision control, and great protection. They wear uniforms with pride here, and the new ones will come in maroon, red and silver. The leadership of Commanders: leaders of people, leaders in the standings. A Commander is defined as “a person in authority, especially over a body of troops or a military operation.” Bowie and Travis, they were commanders. Commanders of many stripes can be found at Lockland Air Force Base, Fort Sam Houston, Camp Bullis and Randolph Air Force Base, all part of Joint Base San Antonio. There are 39,000 students who graduate each year from military training in San Antonio, and they all look to play their part, to follow the plan, to honor their Commanders and country. New head coach Mike Riley and general manager Daryl Johnston are examples of the kind of leadership experience already in place in San Antonio’s newest team. “We do look forward in the very few short months before kickoff to show the rest of the league how passionate and engaged our fans are,” Nirenberg said. “This team will become an integral part of this city, and we’ll rally around and support this team as they begin to hoist trophies throughout our streets.” The Commanders are here, and they will define success as you’d expect in a city of champions. Their spirit, that of their community and the pro football games headed this way: A proud tribute to teamwork, resolve, innovation and sacrifice. That’s how the games are played in Military City, USA.

Commanders’ GM Johnston a Texas treasure

By Mark Newman It remains to be seen whether Daryl Johnston will try to help keep the tradition of the fullback position alive as he assembles this San Antonio Commanders roster along with head coach Mike Riley for the first season of The Alliance of American Football starting in February. All “Moose” wants is to build another Texas pro football tradition and help aspiring players reach their dreams in the process, the way he did a few decades back. “It’s been a long time since San Antonio has been able to call a football team their own at the professional level,” said Johnston, the Commanders’ new general manager and a Dallas Cowboys legend. “We were really excited to be a part of this, and I know Mike Riley has made the statement, and I’m the same way, this has been a great opportunity for both of us, but we weren’t going to do this if it wasn’t going to be in the city of San Antonio. Mike has ties from his previous time here, and my tie is just being in the state of Texas and understanding that it was very important for us to be an important part of San Antonio.” The Commanders have a majority of the Texas college territorial imprint through the new player allocation process. There will be plenty of local and regional ties to help attract fans to the new team, based on roster signings so far, and having Johnston in a leadership position helps steer that popularity. “There are so many talented athletes who are right on the cusp of making an NFL roster, but for one reason or another end up on a practice squad or out of football completely,” Johnston said. “We’re going to give them the chance to show the football world what they can do, that they do belong. A number of these guys are from the great state of Texas, where football is a way of life, and we look forward to having them in San Antonio uniforms.” Johnston, 52, earned three Super Bowl rings with Dallas before going onto a successful broadcasting career, one he will hold onto as a FOX Sports analyst while serving in this new capacity. Troy Aikman, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders, Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Don Meredith and even Roger Staubach tried their hand at broadcasting after their Cowboys days, many of them to longtime acclaim, but Johnston is unique in that he now re-enters the game in an executive capacity. You’re not likely to find another Daryl Johnston on the Commanders roster, as fullbacks are few and far between. But you definitely will find a Daryl Richardson, the former NFL running back from Abilene Christian. Or former NFL running back Khiry Robinson from West Texas A&M. They are more of the prototype backs, the kinds Johnston can easily size up with his top-notch football IQ. Johnston cleared a path for all-time NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith in those heady days, and many people will never forget the part of Smith’s 2010 Hall of Fame speech where he had Johnston stand up […]