SHARKS: Jacksonville Adds Gnat and Absher; Jones Retires
- Updated: January 21, 2017
SHARKS NOTEBOOK: Jacksonville has signed defensive lineman Rodney Gnat and defensive back Brandon Absher to the 2017 roster.
Gnat will enter his fifth season in arena football and first with the Jacksonville Sharks. Gnat, who plays defensive end, spent last season with both the Colorado Crush and the Wichita Falls Nighthawks of the Indoor Football League where he played in 2 games for the Crush before being spending the rest of the season with the Nighthawks where he played in 11 games. Overall he combined for a total of 37 tackles and seven sacks.
In 2014, Rodney had a stint with the Sioux Falls Storm of the IFL, the Omaha Beef of the Champions Professional Indoor Football League and played a single game with the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League where he collected 1.5 tackles before leaving to finish the season with the Columbus lions of the Professional Indoor Football League, helping the team to an American Conference Championship appearance.
During the 2013 season, Gnat played for the Iowa Barnstormers where we recorded 10 tackles, two for a loss, four pass breakups and 1.5 sacks. During his rookie season with the Barnstormers, Gnat recorded 17 tackles, seven for a loss, five sacks and three pass breakups. Prior to his pro career he played for the University of Louisville where he totaled 45 tackles, 16.5 for a loss, 10.5 sacks, six pass breakups and three forced fumbles.
Gnat is a native of Jacksonville and attended Wolfson High School where he ranked the 32nd best defensive end by Rivals.com, 92nd best player in the state of florida and seventh-best defensive end in Florida. Gnat received Second Team All-League accolades, All-First Coast Honors, Second Team All-Conference honors. Gnat played both football and baseball for Wolfson high school before committing to Louisville.
Brandon Absher (6’2, 190) will begin his rookie year in arena football. Prior to the Sharks, Absher played defensive back for Glenville State College, a Division II school in West Virginia. As a senior, he played in all 11 games for the Pioneers totaling 38 tackles, eight pass break-ups, and one interception. During his first two years at Glenville State he combined for 63 tackles and one interception.
JONES ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
Receiver Tiger Jones has announced that he will be retiring from arena football, following his two seasons with the Sharks and eight seasons in the sport.
Anthony “Tiger” Jones spent eight years in arena football, spending his final two with the Jacksonville Sharks as a key target for quarterback Tommy Grady. During his last season with the Sharks in 2016, Tiger racked up 104 catches for 1209 yards and scored 18 touchdowns. Jones also reached a major career milestone passing the 1,000 career catches mark during the 2016 season, becoming the fifth player ever in Arena Football League history to accomplish this feat.
In 2015, Tiger earned First Team All-Arena Honors, while becoming the first wide receiver in Sharks’ history to have a 2,000 yard season (2087), catching 148 receptions for 38 touchdowns and helping the Sharks to a ArenaBowl XXIX appearance.
“How can you replace a player that gave us such memorable touchdown celebrations? There was Soul Train, Jame Brown, Michael Jackson, Elvis and who can forget the People’s Champion? He was no doubt one of the greatest receivers in the game. A true professional on and off the field. Tiger was a tremendous player for this franchise, a mentor to his teammates and a fantastic role model in our community.” noted Sharks Operating Manager Jeff Bouchy. Tiger will always be a part of our Sharks’ family and we wish him the best in all of his future endeavours.”
During Tiger’s career, he amassed a career total of 1041 catches for 14,329 yards and 286 touchdowns in eight seasons. Jones played for eight arena football teams including the Georgia Force, Milwaukee Mustangs, Dallas Vigilantes, Philadelphia Soul and the Jacksonville Sharks. The future arena football Hall of Famer earned All-Rookie honors, multiple First and Second Team All-Arena honors and was Wide Receiver of the Year in 2011. Due to his success in arena football, Tiger earned multiple invitations to workout with NFL teams including the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles but always found arena football to be the primary stage for his pro career.
“To all the Shark fans, I want to thank you for the endless and relentless support you have given me, said Jones. Thank you for being you and for making my experience in Jacksonville so memorable. Keep the Shark Tank Rockin’.”
SHARKS HOST TRYOUTS
The Jacksonville Sharks announced today that the team will hold an open player tryout the morning of Sunday, February 12. This year’s tryout will take place at Julington Creek Plantation Park located at 3060 Race Track Road in Fruit Cove directly behind Fruit Cove Middle School.
Registration for the tryout begins at 8 a.m. and the workout is set to start promptly at 9 a.m. and will close around noon. The tryout will conclude once each player has been properly evaluated by head coach Mark Stoute and the Sharks coaching staff.
Those wishing to participate in the tryout must complete the 2017 Tryout Packet, which is available online at jaxsharks.com/team/tryouts. On the day of the tryout, players are asked to bring the completed packet along with a payment of $80, unless you prepay by visiting jaxsharkstickets.com/opentryouts which will discounted the fee to $70. Cash will be the only form of payment accepted on the day of the tryout. Players will also receive a Jacksonville Sharks Open Tryout T-Shirt.
This year’s tryout will consist of a combination of drills, including the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle and various position-specific drills. Please note that this year’s tryout will take place on artificial turf and players are required to bring appropriate footwear.
The tryout is open to anyone over the age of 18 who has completed high school and is not currently under contract with any professional football team. Kickers will not be evaluated at this year’s tryout. For more information and to download the 2017 Tryout Packet, visit http://www.jaxsharks.com/team/tryouts.