By on January 28, 2013

courtesy of the Tampa Bay Storm 

TAMPA, FLA – The Tampa Bay Storm held an open tryout at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, on Saturday, January 26, looking for players to help improve on last season’s performance.


“Go out, give your best effort, and leave it all on the field,” said Storm president Derrick Brooks to the crowd.  “What we see now can effect what we do all season.”


With two guaranteed training camp invitations up for grabs, more than 100 hopefuls came out looking to seize the opportunity to play with the pros.  One of those individuals was U.S. Army Green Beret, Perry Blackburn, a 51-year old who last played organized football in high school.


“We’re all out here because of this one opportunity, and we can’t waste it,” said Blackburn pointing to his fellow competitors.  “It’s a chance of a lifetime and I wanted to come here to prove to myself, and the rest, that age does not matter.”


While Blackburn did not make the first round of cuts, he gave his best effort and proved for a day what he is able to do on the field and got a chance to play quarterback one more time.


“I just wanted an opportunity,” said Blackburn.  “When you have closes calls in combat you talk about what you want do with your brothers [in arms] and this is what I wanted to do, come out and compete.”


All the participants went through combine-style testing, positional drills and faced one-on-one competition.


“The tryout was a way for us to meet these guys and evaluate their talent,” said Storm director of player personnel David Wilson.  “They all put their best foot forward.”


Everyone brought their a-game with the sole purpose of impressing the staff, and they did not disappoint.


“We had a lot of talent out here today, especially on the offensive side of the ball,” said Storm head coach Dave Ewart.  “We’ll take our time reviewing the film, and take the best of the best.”


While the competition was stiff, only two will receive those coveted training camp invitations.


The Storm coaching staff will have a lot to think about over the next few days.


The Five-Time World Champion Tampa Bay Storm was awarded the 2012 AFL Support Staff of the Year.  The 2013 season kicks off at home Saturday, March 23 at 7:30 PM versus South Division rival Jacksonville Sharks.  Season tickets are available, for more information call 813.301.6600 or visit Additionally fans and sponsors can follow the Storm on Facebook (Tampa Bay Storm) or Twitter (@tampabaystorm) for up to date news and exclusive content.


— Building. Stronger. Together. —


Categories: Football, Sports


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