FOUR FORMER HORNETS ON OPENING DAY AFL ROSTERS
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Four former Sacramento State football players appear on opening day rosters for the 2007 Arena Football League season. The players are comprised of Aaron Garcia, Fred Otis Amey, Eddie Canonico and Brandon Smith. All four players begin the season on Saturday, March 4.
One of the longest-tenured players in the league, Garcia is set to begin his 13th season in the AFL and his seventh as the quarterback of the New York Dragons. During his career he has thrown for over 35,000 yards and 757 touchdowns. Garcia, however, will begin the year on the injured reserve list as he continues to recover from a broken leg which occurred during the fifth game of last season. New York opens the year by hosting Dallas in a nationally televised game on ABC.
After spending the 2006 season as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, Amey will make his AFL debut on Saturday as his Austin Wranglers take on Las Vegas. The wide receiver holds nearly every receiving record at Sacramento State but will have to adjust to the short field of the AFL. As a rookie with the 49ers, Amey made garnered national attention when he returned a punt for a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams on his first career return. Amey has already made a splash with the Wranglers, catching a 45-yard pass and returning a kickoff for a score during the team’s exhibition game.
Defensive back Eddie Canonico returns for his third season with the league and his second campaign with the Las Vegas Gladiators. Canonico, who has not played in the league since 2005, will have the challenge of covering Amey when Las Vegas travels to Austin to open the year. A cornerback for Sacramento State from 1998-2001, Canonico as traveled the world as a professional. He began his pro career with the Cleveland Browns before debuting in the AFL with the Arizona Rattlers. He then had stints with the Gladiators, the Cincinatti Swarm of AFL2, and the Dallas Desperados of the AFL. Canonico returned to the NFL after being signed by the Carolina Panthers and then moved to the Kansas City Chiefs. He was later designated to play for the Cologne Centurions of NFL-Europe before returning stateside to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Another newcomer to the league is Brandon Smith. The former Hornet defensive back is currently on the injured list for the San Jose SaberCats. While in San Jose, Smith will play for former Sacramento State head coach Darren Arbet. Smith came to the Hornets after Saint Mary’s discontinued football following the 2003 season. He was twice named honorable mention all-Big Sky Conference as a cornerback and later appeared in minicamp with the Detroit Lions. San Jose opens the year at Los Angeles.