Imagine a six year old Aaron Murray sitting in Tampa Stadium back in 1996. Rooting for the Buccaneers with dreams of one day playing out on that beautiful expanse of green grass. I too have had that same dream. Only I was forty-six, nowhere near as talented of Murray, and was not selected this week as the Quarterback and new face of the Tampa Bay Vipers franchise. Oh, well.
Searching For An Identity
The new Spring professional football league known as the XFL held its draft this week. The allotment of the quarterbacks was one of the biggest secrets going into the process. As with any new organization it is important to put a face on the front. There are several local, or Florida players that now make up the 71 player roster of the Vipers.
There is former UCF Knights center Jordan McCray who was just here in Tampa in May at the Buccaneers rookie mini camp tryouts. Also drafted by the Vipers was none other than USF standout Quinton Flowers. Flowers is the Bulls all time touchdown leader, both rushing and passing. He now will bring that slashing style of his to Tampa Bay once again.
The Vipers found a gem at Offensive Tackle in former UF Gator and local Apopka resident Martez Ivey. Signed as an undrafted free agent by the New England Patriots this year. Ivey made it to final cuts before being let go. At 6’5″ and 300+ lbs, Martez will look to accomplish as a Viper what has been missing a bit for the Buccaneers this season, protection of the quarterback.
Face Of The Franchise
It starts an ends with the guy under center. Doesn’t it, Jameis? With Aaron Murray coming back to roam the field at Ray Jay, after having led the Atlanta Legends in the AAF. The Atlanta connection made sense as Murray set quite a few SEC records as a four year starter at the University of Georgia.
The Tampa Bay connection rings truer as Murray was blazing the fields here as quarterback for Plant High School. Leading Plant to its second state title in three years in 2008. After being offered a scholarships by 53 colleges, Murray would commit to Georgia to play for Mark Richt. Selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 5th round of the 2014 draft and would make other NFL stops in Arizona, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.
Now he comes home to take his place as the quarterback of the XFL Tampa Bay Vipers. Somewhere in the stands at Raymond James stadium there will be another 6 yr old child with dreams of one day playing out on that green, green grass.
The beautiful cycle continues…..
Photo credit: XFL.com
And now a word from our sponsor!