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April 28, 2001

LAS VEGAS – The XFL named a league-high seven members of the Las Vegas Outlaws to its inaugural All-League Team, as voted by players and coaches at the conclusion of the regular season. No other XFL squad placed more than three players on the All-XFL Team, which is made up of 24 players, 11 each from offense and defense, one kicker and one special teams addition.

"I’m very proud of and excited for our players,” said Outlaws Head Coach Jim Criner, whose team finished the season 4-6 and out of the playoffs. “It’s great for them to be recognized by their peers and opposing coaches around the league.”

Perhaps the inclusion of four members of the Outlaws “Dealers of Doom” defense comes as no surprise, as DE Kelvin Kinney, DT Angel Rubio, LB Joseph Tuipala and S Brandon Sanders earned accolades for their consistently aggressive and truly stellar play in leading the XFL’s #1 defensive unit.

On the other side of the ball, however, three members of the Outlaws’ eighth-ranked offense were recognized by their peers as deserving of All-League kudos. RB Rod Smart, known to the world as “HE HATE ME” and the league’s #3 rusher (555 yards), joins TE Rickey Brady and OT Lonnie Palelei as three of the league’s distinguished performers for 2001.

“What this shows is that we had a good draft,” continued Criner, who is already planning for next season. “As we said all along, the strength of our team was on defense. We saw a young, developing group of wide receivers and running backs. As the season unfolded, our defense played well all year long, and we had in Rod Smart a young running back who developed even though many thought couldn't play at this level”

“The other thing this proves is that you can’t win in this league without a quarterback,” stated Criner. “Look at Orlando – they were the best team in the league through seven games, but they lost their starting QB and basically fell apart. As far as the Outlaws are concerned, we lost our starter in camp, were never consistent on offense and went through another two QBs trying to find someone, anyone to help us. (Ryan) Clement came back from injury, was never more than 85% healthy, and couldn’t even throw in the final game because of his shoulder.”

Criner’s critique of the Outlaws’ league-high seven All-XFL standouts:
RB Rod Smart
“Rod is a young back that got better with every game and was the key to whatever offensive excitement we were able to generate this season.”

TE Rickey Brady
“He was best blocking tight end in the league, without question, and proved to be best receiving TE as well. He was consistent and played well all season.”

OT Lonnie Palelei
“Lonnie performed at a very solid level at left tackle and was the leader on offense. The only offensive lineman to start all 10 games on an offense that missed 33 games due to injury, with all but one at QB or on the line.”

DE Kelvin Kinney
“K2 proved to be the best edge rusher in the league. He placed enormous pressure on opposing passers and was solid against the run.”

DT Angel Rubio
Rubio was a force inside, as an excellent run stopper he pushed the pocket and made it easy for our edge rushers to get to the QB.”

LB Joseph Tuipala
“Joe was probably our best defensive player. He’s a solid guy that played well in the passing game, showed tremendous instincts on every down and on special teams, and was our hardest hitter.”

S Brandon Sanders
“Early in the season, Brandon was the best defensive player in the league, until his concussion in Chicago. He was good against the run, showed excellent range in the passing game and was a leader on our league-leading defense.”


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