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Commanders provide second chance at football life

Team practices in pads for the first time

After two days of workouts at Central Catholic High School, the San Antonio Commanders have finally held their first practice with pads. The difference in terms of effort and physicality was palpable.

“If I was given the choice, I’d go shoulder pads on the very first day of practice," head coach Mike Riley said. "It provides the protection for when a running back in running through a hole. I think it’s good.”

Now that the groundwork has been laid, players have a true chance to showcase their talents. And for many players who couldn't make on an NFL roster this season, like former Texas A&M wide receiver Speedy Noil, the Alliance of American Football provides a second chance to play the game they love at the professional level.

“I did my research," Noil said. "I love the game of football and my biggest thing is giving back to the game of football. After the draft didn't work out, I went back to school for a year to get my mind back right, and the Alliance came up. I’ve been ready ever since.”

“I think what we coach is that it’s a great opportunity to show that you can bounce back and that you’re tough-minded enough to do it," Riley explained. "It’s a great chance to build a better you.”

And it's part of the process of molding the first-ever Commanders team -- an opportunity that head coach Mike Riley relishes.

“It’s kinda fun to see it all take shape, see relationships form," Riley said. "We would love to build that comraderie as a team, but the other part of it is that we’re going to have some anguish still ahead of us in having to cut players. Only then can you really start molding that thing that’s called a team.”

The Commanders return to practice tomorrow afternoon, with their first game a little over a month away.


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