Activated - James Battle (Wide Receiver, Oregon
Placed - Sammie Burroughs (Linebacker, Portland
State) on reserve
For the first time ever, HITMEN head coach Rusty
Tillman had the opportunity to work with his
entire team as the New York/New Jersey Hitmen™
opened its full squad mini-camp at Kean University
on December 12.
The on field, twice daily workouts followed
an evening of team meetings, as players gathered
at the team hotel last night to receive their
playbooks and begin the arduous process of trying
to earn a spot in the XFL.
Tillman invited 70 players to the camp, including
members of the defense, who impressed the veteran
coach during the morning workout. “We have some
imposing players on the defensive side of the
ball,” Tillman said. “We’ve got some strong,
hungry, athletic guys who will make an impact
in this league.”
Coach Tillman repeatedly preaches the gospel
of “HITMEN weather,” noting that his troops
will be ready to play in any type of climate.
“We have to learn to make friends with the snow,
wind, sleet, rain and ice,” the coach explained.
Traditionally, the most windswept area of campus,
the Kean University football stadium, was especially
blustery on Tuesday, with winds gusting up to
50 mph. While it did not seem to affect the
players, video manager Lou Ruchser certainly
felt the effects of Mother Nature.
Already nursing a shattered heel and using crutches
to get around, Ruchser, who tips the scales
at 160 pounds, was lifted off the sideline bench
by a powerful gust of wind and deposited on
his backside. Luckily for Lou, he did not suffer
any further injury, other than to his pride,
Sunshine State resident Sean Liss claimed that
he did not mind the cold, but does mind the
wind. The St. Petersburg, Fla. product will
have a chance to experience frigid conditions
during tomorrow’s workout, as the forecast calls
for temperatures hovering around the freezing
mark throughout the day.
Overheard during the defensive drills: An unidentified
player remarked that the HITMEN should play
in a dome in order to shield the team from the
“You’ll NEVER see a dome in this league,” linebacker
Haven Fields said.
Fields should know something about the XFL and
what it takes to be a player. The Auburn product
is a few credits shy of a degree in exercise
physiology and was enrolled at his alma mater
this semester to finish his Bachelor’s requirements
when the HITMEN called on December 5.
Looking at his syllabus, Fields realized that
he had a final exam scheduled for Monday, December
11, the day players were due to arrive in New
Acting with the speed of a linebacker blitz,
Fields rescheduled his test for earlier in the
day and caught the last flight out of Atlanta
that evening, arriving just as the team dinner
“No way I miss either opportunity - either school
or the XFL,” Fields said between mouthfuls of
food. “I’ve worked too hard to let this pass
While 70 players were expected to attend the
second mini camp, six HITMEN hopefuls were still
AWOL as camp began.
It seems that a storm front in the Midwest shut
down air travel from Green Bay through Chicago,
stranding fullback Michael Blair, strong safety
Donnie Caldwell, defensive tackle Dan Falcon,
cornerback Tyree Talton, defensive tackle Jermaine
Smith, and linebacker Jude Waddy.
Falcon and Talton did arrive in time for the
afternoon sessions, but the others are still
yet to be heard from. Maybe it’s the infamous
Chicago-Green Bay-Sheboygan triangle at work,
not the Canadian cold front, after all.
The afternoon practice was attended by a throng
of media, including both print and electronic
outlets from as far away as Canada and Washington,
D.C. In terms of new media and the Internet,
the HITMEN web site, www.all-xfl.com/nynjhitmen,
received five million page views last month,
further proof that interest in the team and
the league is on the rise.
Defensive End Israel Raybon, curious about the
new XFL football, made an early appearance at
the morning workout. While his teammates were
finishing breakfast, Raybon got a closer look
at the unique Spalding manufactured football
and came away scratching his head.
It seems that Raybon was searching for Vince
McMahon’s autograph on the pigskin, but could
not find it, much to his dismay.
“Every ball has to have an autograph,” Raybon
said. “Whether it’s the commissioner or the
owner, someone should put his name on it.”
“I hope someone remembers to sign my check on
payday,” he quipped.
Quarterbacks Charles Puleri and Wally Richardson
modeled the official HITMEN uniforms for a pre-practice
photo shoot, courtesy of Topps Trading Cards.
The XFL today named Topps as its exclusive trading
card licensee, and the QBs will be among the
first HITMEN players featured.
The HITMEN will hold mini-camp practices each
day throughout the week (Wednesday-Sunday) at
8:30-10:00 a.m. and 12:30-2:30 p.m. All practices
are open to the public and media. Please note:
There will be no afternoon session on Sunday.
Practice may change due to weather.
Notes from - [Day 1 | Day
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