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West Sacramento, CA - The River City Gators announced the signing and activation of Sacramento native and Arena Football League Free Agent defensive back, Mervin Brookins today. Brookins played for the AFL’s Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz in 2010, the AFL's Stockton Lightning and the River City Gators in 2009.
Prior to his professional career, Brookins attended Kansas-based Bethel College and Sacramento City College. His agent, Chris Johnson said, “Our focus is to get him reaccelerated to outdoor football. We want to get him doing what he does best: shutting down receivers, intercepting passes, and returning kicks. We need to prove to scouts and general managers that he is every bit the real deal that we know he is.”
Brookins is using the Gators opportunity in order to transition from arena to full field. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and current Gators wide receiver Paris Warren said, “Once you go arena, you never come back.”
While that’s not entirely true, Warren’s sentiment highlights the belief that the differences in field segment responsibility and defensive angles of attack make readjustment to a full field difficult. Relatively few players find it easy to transition.
The goal for Brookins is to quickly adjust in order to prepare for United Football League and Canadian Football League tryouts, as well as upcoming National Football League camps. He was invited to the Seattle Seahawks camp in 2009.
River City Gators Head Coach Charlie Ruiz said the addition of Brookins "Will definitely add a new dimension to our secondary. He's answering a season-long need at just the right time. He's got the speed and strength to handle whatever comes his way. He's been here before, so I'm sure he'll pick up right where he left off. He's the last piece of the puzzle to put us over the top."
River City Gators Co-Owner and NCFL Co-Founder Jason Kang said, "We’re excited about Merv’s return. He’s a part of the defense that we’ve been missing for quite a while. I’m glad he’s back, but I hope he doesn’t stay too long. We’re going to make the most of his availability, and we’re going to help him with his own development goals as well."
Mervin Brookins is set to arrive in Sacramento mere minutes from now. The plan is for him to head straight into meetings. He is scheduled for preliminary workouts and a full practice Friday evening. The Gators have him listed as active for this weekend. Brookins said the tight schedule "Is all business. We had a lot going on in Oklahoma, there's a lot going on right now, and I'm ready for all of it."
Shortly after getting off the plane, Brookins was asked about his thoughts and feelings about returning to Sacramento. He said, "It's great to see my mom. My baby girl is here. I'm going to see my cousin. It's awkward."
Indeed it is, but just as Brookins is glad to see his family, the Gators and their fans are very glad to see him. Kang added, "This is great for the league. It’s always great to get pro players into our system. I’ve been told that a few players from the Pacifica Islanders are heading to the CFL in the next few days. This is a competitive league. Having a dangerous defender and return man like Merv only makes it better."
Ruiz was quick to remind everyone around him, "We're playing to win a championship. Adding a player with pro experience is always a big plus. Merv has a lot of versatility. He's what we need at corner, and he'll be a strong addition to the return game and special teams."
Brookins is rumored to be in talks with several teams including the AIFA's San Jose Wolves. Wolves General Manager and Head Coach Bennie King was unable to return telephone calls before press time. He and his team are currently on their way to Washington to play the Wenatchee Valley Venom.
A source close to the team says Brookins and King will meet privately on Monday, and a deal is likely to be reached that night. That would place Brookins on the Wolves practice field as early as Tuesday, and make him eligible to play at the Cow Palace on Saturday, June 12 versus the Yakima Valley Warriors.
Brookins' agent, Chris Johnson, is also in contact with the UFL's Sacramento Mountain Lions and several CFL teams regarding potential free agent deals.
The NCFL is the nation's premier minor league football conference. With players having moved on to the AFL and AIFA, and others attending NFL and UFL camps in the past, the league is highly competitive. In fact, the league's top two teams, the Northbay Rattlers and the Pacifica Islanders, placed first and second at the 2009 minor league national championships in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Gators next game is Saturday, June 5, on the road versus the defending NCFL and 2009 MLFN National Champion Northbay Rattlers. Kickoff is scheduled for 6pm in Santa Rosa. The next home game is June 12 versus the Contra Costa Razorbacks. Time and location for that game remains to be decided. To learn more about the River City Gators, please visit their website.
Author's Note : I am am official photographer for the River City Gators.