VIRGINIA BEACH -- All four United Football League (UFL) teams, which include Las Vegas Locomotives, Omaha Nighthawks, Sacramento Mountain Lions and the Virginia Destroyers, have set their 51-man rosters ahead of the 2011 season, which kicks off its third campaign when the Omaha Nighthawks welcome the Virginia Destroyers to TD Ameritrade Park, Sept. 15.
The Destroyers, formerly the Florida Tuskers, have a lot of veteran experience leading its offense with quarterback Chris Greisen, running backs Dominic Rhodes and Adrian Peterson and wide receivers Cortez Hankton, Calvin Russell and John Standeford. They also have experience in tight ends Ronnie Ghent and Michael Matthews - and five ex-Tuskers along the offensive line.
Greisen (3-0 UFL regular season record, 0-1 UFL postseason record, 12th professional season) started and won the final three regular season games as a starter for the Tuskers last season. He has high hopes that the league and the team will be successful.
"It's a great league, it's a great football opportunity for players like me that are a little bit older and are looking to get back in and for younger guys to develop," said Greisen. "Especially when you have guys like coach Schottenheimer (Marty), coach Shea (Terry) and all these guys - these experienced coaches - know how to develop young players."
"There's a lot of excitement with our first home game coming up against Las Vegas in a couple weeks," he said. "...our plan is to give them a lot of great excitement around here."
Rhodes is no stranger to the sport of professional football. He was signed by the Tuskers for their 2010 season. During that season he set new single-season marks for total touchdowns and scored at least one touchdown in each of the first seven games of the season. Rhodes has also played for the Buffalo Bills, the Oakland Raiders and the Indianapolis Colts.
"I'm excited to be here and excited about this opportunity, just to play in you guys city. And glad to be welcome," said Rhodes. "...having a coach like coach Schottenheimer and myself, we can put a good product out there on the field and play some good football ... we've gotta be focused on one goal and that's to win every ball game and get to the championship."
Schottenheimer brings decades of experience to the Destroyers coaching staff and to the player and says his benchmark for success this season is simply, "win the championship!"
"At the end of the day, what Virginia region will see and witness is a football team that is committed to one purpose and that's finding a way to win one game. And all you have to do is win one game each week. That's the beauty of the sport," he said. "You have your preparation and you go about and you play the game. The goal very simply is to win. Find some way to win and when that one's over - win, lose or otherwise - you put it aside and you get ready for the next week. And that's really kind of the essence of my philosophy in football. You take one step at a time."
The Destroyers will make their hometown debut on Sept. 24 at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex when they take on the Las Vegas Locomotives. For tickets and more information, visit www.ufl-football.com/tickets.