The Baltimore Mariners are serious about capitalizing on their success of 2009 by re-signing six important players (four from the area), offering affordable ticket packages for fan support where the team was 6-1 last season at First Mariner Arena and a workout for undiscovered talent on Oct. 10.
Defensive end/ linebacker Joe Taylor (Morgan State), defensive back/ wide receiver Richard Johnson (Milford Mill Academy), defensive end Henry Scott (Essex), defensive back T-Wuan Prather (Bowie State), and wide receivers Aaron Yarbough and Scorpio Brown re-signed one-year deals with the Mariners.
Scott played his high school ball at Kenwood High School in Essex, Maryland and became a two-year letterman for the Maryland terrapins, where he was a walk-on. Scott was one of the pillars on the defensive line that ranked second in takeaways (52) for the AIFA (American Indoor Football Association). “Henry brings a lot of experience to the defensive line,” said Mariners’ head coach Chris Simpson in a press release who also re-signed late this past summer. “He has a quiet type of leadership that is expressed more in his actions than his words. When he makes the total commitment to his play, I believe that you will see him have one of his best seasons as a professional in 2010.”
As an All-American at Milford Mill Academy of Baltimore, Johnson went to set records at Virginia Tech. Johnson is still ranked as one of Tech’s all-time leaders where he averaged 21.5 yards per return and holds a bowl record from the 2002 Gator Bowl as he totaled 118 yards on five kickoff returns against the Florida State Seminoles. Johnson’s knack for setting records continued when he joined the Mariners in 2008 as the franchise’s all-time leader in tackles (78) and contributed to a league high of 42 interceptions. “Richard is a tremendous athlete and tested leader of this football team,” said Simpson. “He can play both sides of the ball equally well and one of the best return specialists in the league.”
“It feels great to be back in Baltimore,” said Taylor, the Morgan State grad on his re-signing with the team. “We started something special last year and I feel we have some unfinished business.” Taylor is a native of Tallahassee, Florida and he spends sometime as a defensive back and linebacker last season. “Having Joe on the field is like having another coach in the defensive huddle,” said Simpson. “He has great knowledge of the game and is able to assist in adjustments during a game. He is very physical with a great nose for the ball.”
With three seasons under Yarbough’s belt, he obtained 61 receptions for 847 yards with 19 touchdowns, 11 from last season. Yarbough’s speed was evident dating back to his college years at Virginia Military Institute where he was an All-Conference performer in track and field. Yarbough, a Virginia native, is happy to keep his blazing speed here in Baltimore with the Mariners to help make an impact. “I expect Aaron to have a bigger impact on the team going into next season,” said Simpson who has stated that Yarbough will play a larger role in 2010. “He is a veteran WR that our younger players can go to and become better route runners because of his knowledge and experience.”
Prather had an exciting career at Bowie State University where he lettered all four seasons and this product of Waldorf, Maryland was named CIAA’s (Central Intercollegiate Athlete association) All-Conference squad in 1998 and 1999. Coming into his third season with the Mariners, Prather is expected to continue to be an asset to the team. “T-Wuan is one of the fastest players on the field and one of our most physical DB’s,” said Simpson. “Each year that he has been with me, he has really worked hard on his coverage skills and I believe he’ll be a solid asset in the secondary.”
As for the fan favorite, Brown will return with the Mariners. Brown is the Mariners’ all-time touchdown reception leader (19) as he caught 49 passes for 567 yards with 11 touchdowns, tied with Yarbough. The Virginia native is also second in receptions (70) and yards (794) all-time. Brown is 6-4, 225 pounder with speed and his brother, Elton Brown, who played for the Arizona Cardinals from 2005-2008 and was apart of the Super Bowl team in 2009. Expect to see Brown on the defensive side of the ball where he is also effective. “The thing that surprises me is his ability to kick into gear from a speed stand point,’ said Simpson. “I’m looking forward to seeing more of that speed from him next season. You might see Scorpio on the defensive side of the ball a little bit more next season.”
The Mariners earned their first playoff berth last season and winning 6 out of the 7 home games was huge. The Mariners’ organization want to continue to be a force at home and they know it’s impossible without the hometown fans. For the 2010 season, the Mariners are offering season ticket packages at $49, $63, $98, and $161, an average of $7 per seat. Details for the Mariners’ Touchdown Club Party Zone are soon to follow.
The Baltimore Mariners are apart of a 14-team league with more cities to join in 2010, Richmond, VA, Trenton, NJ and Washington State. To expand and compete, the Mariners are offering workout to find the next big thing to help bring a title to Baltimore. On Oct. 10, 2009 at the Soccer Dome on 7330 Montevideo Road in Jessup, MD, the Mariners are having an open workout similar to the one Philadelphia Eagles’ Vince Papale participated in and made the roster in the late 70’s For information about this possible life changing event and yes, NFL scouts look at these players as well, call 443-755-0014.