The San Francisco Demons already were feeling good about themselves
following the conclusion of their second mini-camp this week,
but then things got even better when former Bay Area standout
David Diaz-Infante officially joined the fold.
“We took David with one of our early territorial selections
in hopes of being able to convince him to play back home in
the XFL,” vice president and general manager Mike Preacher
said. “He came out and observed our mini-camp last week and
decided he wanted to be a part of it.”
Diaz-Infante not only brings 10 years of professional football
knowledge with him to San Francisco, but he has experienced
the ultimate in drama of the game, appearing and winning two
Super Bowl titles with the Denver Broncos in 1997 and ’98.
He will join the Demons for training camp in Las Vegas when
practice begins Wednesday, Jan. 3. San Francisco will trim
its roster during training camp from 70 players initially
to the 45 who will begin the XFL season Sunday, Feb. 4, at
Pacific Bell Park against the Los Angeles Xtreme.
“I had a hard time making the decision because of my responsibilities
at our company here in Denver,” Diaz-Infante said. “but after
I visited there last week, I like how the organization approaches
things and I believe the league has a great chance to be successful
and be another viable option for guys to make a decent living
“I’ve still got some gas in the tank and I’d like to see this
develop and be a part of it,” he added. “This will be a great
way to put an end on my career. My son, who is three now,
wants me to play one more year and it’s a chance to play in
my hometown. Plus, I benefited from playing in another league
earlier in my career, so this will be a great chance for guys
who want to get back to the NFL or just play more football.”
In addition, San Francisco picked up 10-year NFL linebacker
and former San Francisco 49er James Williams from the XFL
player pool. Williams played with New Orleans (1990-95), Jacksonville
(1996) and Cleveland (1999) in addition to the 49ers (1997-98).
Diaz-Infante is believed to be the oldest player to achieve
his first NFL starting assignment. He was 32 when he cracked
the Broncos’ starting unit for a November, 1996 game at Minnesota.
He opened seven games the next year when Denver won its first
world title by beating Green Bay, then was the top reserve
in the offensive line in 1998 when the Broncos repeated by
beating Atlanta in Super Bowl XXXII in Miami.
A native of San Jose, he was all-league and an honorable mention
all-American at San Jose State. He played three games with
San Diego during the NFL strike in 1987, then played in the
World League and Canadian Football League before returning
to the NFL full-time with Denver in 1995. He played the 1999
season with Philadelphia.
He will be the elder statesman with the Demons in 2001 at
age 36. Two other NFL veterans, cornerback Dwayne Harper and
offensive tackle Scott Adams, are 34. Halfback Vaughn Dunbar
is 32 and quarterback Mike Pawlawski and receiver Calvin Schexnayder
are both 31.
“David’s presence gives us another coach on the field,” Preacher
added. “We are excited to have David show the younger players
what it takes to be successful and he wants to do that, it’s
part of his motivation for playing. He’s an intense competitor,
when you line up against David you know you’re in for a war.”