By Ryan Lengerich
Tucumcari police officer Milton Brown survived the first cut at a tryout Saturday for the Dallas Desperados of the Arena Football League.
The 28-year-old competed against 20 other quarterback candidates. He estimated 500 players attended the tryout at Texas Stadium, home of pro football’s Dallas Cowboys.
“The talent level was what I expected, most guys coming from college,” Brown said. “There were some guys that were average and some guys who shouldn’t even have been there.”
Brown said the tryout began with a warmup, stretching and then a 20-yard shuttle run. He was then timed in the 40-yard dash. He ran the dash in a time of 5.1 seconds but said he needs to be faster.
After the morning session, Desperado scouts and coaches dismissed 10 quarterbacks. Brown survived the first cut and participated in an afternoon session consisting mostly of passing drills.
“Arm-strength wise I think I competed real high, but speed is what I am really focusing on right now,” Brown said.
The afternoon workout was recorded and Desparado Media Relations Director Doug Hood said coaches and scouts will review the tape over several weeks before making the decision about which players to invite to training camp in the second week of January.
Hood said the team has seven open spots of the 37 players allowed to attend training camp. After training camp, the team is cut to the league maximum 24-player roster and an additional four practice players.
History is not in Brown’s favor. In the team’s first year, three players were chosen for camp and none made the roster. Last season only one player was chosen from open tryout and that player made the practice squad. Hood said some players could be called back for another tryout, depending on how many players the coaches feel have a chance to make it to training camp.
“I try to talk to the coaches and see how they feel I did,” Brown said. “All the ones I talked to said I did real well.”
Brown is also considering a tryout with a first-year AFL team in Austin, Texas, and has a tryout scheduled with an arena team in Amarillo that will begin play in 2004 with the startup Intense Football League.
He said he was the strongest quarterback at the Dallas camp but not the tallest. He rated his performance as a seven out of a possible 10.
“It is nerve-racking, especially when you see what the other quarterbacks do,” he said. “But I am willing to compete against who I have to compete against to make it.”