XFL Orlando Rage Press Release 13


Press Release 13
A Linebacker Runs Through It
Jan. 24, 2001

Ask Orlando Rage player Joe Cummings what he thinks of the movie “A River Runs Through It,” and you might be surprised when the rugged 6-2, 250-lb. linebacker tells you that he “relates.”

But it is not because he is a sentimental softy. Not only did Cummings grow up in Missoula, Montana where the movie was based, but he also has lived parts of the movie. You see, Cummings spends his off-season working as a fly fishing guide on Montana’s rivers where he works for the famous outdoor outfitter “The Missoulian Angler.”

“I grew up with a fly rod in my hand,” Cummings says. “Getting a job as a river guide just became an extension of my passion.”

Although fly fishing is generally considered a passive and serene activity, Cummings says there is a lot of similarities between fishing and playing professional football.

“First and foremost, you have to know your opponent,” Cummings says. “In fly fishing you need to know how to read the water, you have to know how to match the hatch and you have to know what would make a trout take a fly. Football is the same way. Where is the ball carrier going, does the quarterback do anything to tip off the play, what is a your opponent’s strengths? You have to know tendencies in both pursuits.”

Cummings also says patience is a virtue. “In fly fishing, you have to be careful and deliberate. Sometimes you have to make repeated casts to the same spot if you know that area is holding fish. Football is the same way. As much as you want to fly around the field and make plays, you have to display patience, read your keys, and stay at home.”

A three-year NFL veteran, Cummings was waived by the Buffalo Bills during training camp in 1999. Without question, he believes he was a victim of the league’s salary cap structure and the collective bargaining agreement but he refuses to use it as an excuse.

“As a fourth year player, the Bills were required to pay me $440,000. When you get in that situation, a team will do one of three things – sign you, waive you and sign a young player at half the salary, or waive you and sign an older, more-experienced veteran willing to work for the same amount of money. If the rules had permitted it, I would have signed for $200,000 and I would probably still me in the NFL,” Cummings says. “But the system doesn’t work that way. But on the other hand, I have no complaints. I obviously was not able to do the things that I needed to do to stay in the NFL.”

Left out of the NFL, Cummings was ready to become a river guide on a full-time basis when the XFL called. “I had gone back to school to finish my degree and was also doing the fishing thing when I heard about the XFL,” Cummings said. “I think whenever a player gets put in that situation, he has to ask himself. Do you still want to play? For me, the answer was yes.”

For Cummings, the XFL presents a chance to get back on the field. He likes the idea of incentive-based pay for the players. “The superstars will always get the press, but football remains a team game. Look at the Super Bowl and tell me how many top-rated quarterbacks are in the game. The answer is none. In the XFL, players understand that we are in this thing together and everyone is going to be paid substantially better if we play well as a team,” Cummings says.


Part of the

Network, Dedicated To All Fans of the XFL