Meet the New Guy: Isaiah Ross on Fighting in a Phone Booth

So Andrew Crummey was signed off the Redskins practice squad to Cincinnati’s active roster, thus reducing the number of people I can bother with Maryland Terrapins postgame chatter. To replace him, the team signed Isaiah Ross to the practice squad. (Coincidentally, the Terrapins have a verbal commitment from an Isaiah Ross, but it’s a different guy. So close….)

This Isaiah Ross has spent time on practice squads in Minnesota and New Orleans, which is to be expected of a midseason practice squad addition and is, honestly, not all that interesting — but he also caught five touchdowns for the now-defunct New Orleans VooDoo of the Arena League. This would also not be all that interesting, except that Ross is an offensive lineman, and he’s 6-3 and 320 pounds. That, I thought, was kind of interesting, so I asked him about his time in the AFL and how it differed from the NFL.

What was it like in the Arena League?

I called it fighting in a telephone booth, because everything’s so small. It allows you to work on your technique a lot more.

Did you play both offense and defense, or do they not do that anymore? I’m embarrassingly out of touch with Arena League rules.

You still can play both ways, but it’s not mandatory. I didn’t, but I played defensive line in college, so it’s something I can do. That made me attractive to the league, of course.

What are the guys like there? Does everyone just want to break into the NFL?

Some young guys come in expecting that, and sometimes they come in expecting to just dominate the Arena league. But it’s a completely different game with different angles and everything, and a lot of the older veterans get a step up on them. Of course, everyone’s dream is to get here – this is the top shelf and there’s nothing better than being in the NFL. So they’ve got dreams and aspirations, but it’s not something that happens all the time.

Let’s say that Brett Favre had decided that, instead of coming back to the NFL, he wanted to give the Arena League a shot. Could he have competed?

[looking at me like I’m an idiot] Oh yeah.

Right, obviously. Dumb question. But would he have just flat dominated?

The angles are way different. And Brett has a hell of an arm, but I think that arm strength he has might hinder him in such small quarters. But you never really know. You know, you have a guy like Kurt Warner who did it and then came to the NFL and then flourished. Arena League, it kinda just depends on the person.

It’s not the same kind of football. Everything’s real small, so your footwork has to be shorter … everything you do is shorter or smaller. You have to be smart, and you have to react much quicker.

Even the big guys?

Even for the big guys. The fun part is being a big guy and getting to go out and catch passes.

That’s probably not going to happen here as much.

I don’t see it happening. If I catch a ball, somebody’s probably in a little bit of trouble.


One Response

  1. That’s a bummer, I like Crummey, thought he played well in pre-season.

    This guy sounds like he’s got attitude though. Maybe Buges can whip him into shape.

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