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SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah Blaze announce the signing of nine players this week. The group of players is led by former Arizona Cardinal and Dallas Cowboy fullback TROY HAMBRICK (6-1, 245, Savannah State). Other players signed this week include: fullback/linebacker RODNEY FILER (6-3, 260, Iowa), offensive lineman TUPE PEKO (6-4, 310, Michigan State), wide receiver ANTHONY BROWN (6-6, 230, Arkansas), defensive lineman MAURICE FOUNTAIN (6-4, 270, Clemson), linebacker KELVIN MORRIS (6-4, 245, Clemson), wide receiver DAVID SUTTON (6-6, 225, UTEP), defensive back MELVIN MATLOCK (5-11, 195, Minnesota State), and defensive back TERRANCE SANDERS (5-10, 180, Eastern Illinois). Terms of the contracts were not disclosed due to team policy.
"These signings help add depth to key areas for us," said Blaze head coach and general manager DANNY WHITE. "From Hambrick and Filer to guys a few years out of college, it's a good balance of veterans and young talent. We are excited to bring in players that we feel will help us make a run at the championship in 2008."
HAMBRICK: Prior to signing with the Blaze, Hambrick spent four seasons in the NFL. In 2004, while with the Arizona Cardinals, he rushed 63 times in ten games for 283 yards and one touchdown. From 2000-03, Hambrick played for the Dallas Cowboys where he played backup to EMMITT SMITH. In his 51 games as a Cowboy, Hambrick recorded 473 carries for 1,896 yards and eight touchdowns. His most successful NFL season came in 2003 where he rushed for a career-high 972 yards.
FILER: The 2008 season marks Filer's tenth season in the AFL. He has spent time with the Tampa Bay Storm (2007), the Las Vegas Gladiators (2005-06), the New York Dragons (2001-04), and the Iowa Barnstormers (1999-2000). Filer has 160 career rushes for 559 yards and 32 touchdowns, and 40 receptions for 362 yards and five touchdowns. He was on the practice squad with the New York Jets in 2001 and with the San Diego Chargers in 1997. Filer was named Second-Team All-Arena in 2003 and earned Offensive MVP honors in the 1996 Alamo Bowl against Iowa State.
PEKO: Peko spent the 2006 and 2007 with the Las Vegas Gladiators. Prior to joining the Gladiators, he spent four seasons in the NFL. In 2001, Peko was allocated to NFL Europe by the Seattle Seahawks, and from 2002-04, he played for the Indianapolis Colts. While with the Colts, Peko played in 28 games, starting in nine of them.
BROWN: After being picked up mid-season by the Spokane Shock (af2), Brown recorded 22 catches for 235 yards and three touchdowns. Brown was released from the Chicago Bear's mini-camp after finishing up his college career at the University of Arkansas in 2007. Originally recruited as a wide receiver, Brown switched to defensive end in 2006, recording 32.0 tackles, including 7.0 for loss.
FOUNTAIN: At the end of his 2007 season with the Manchester Wolves (af2), Fountain had recorded 29.5 total tackles in 16 games along with four pass breakups, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and a franchise-record 13.0 sacks.
MORRIS: Prior to signing with the Blaze, Morris spent the 2007 season with fellow signee Brown and the Spokane Shock. He ended the season with 61.5 total tackles and led the team with six recovered fumbles. Morris set a franchise record scoring six touchdowns as a defensive player.
SUTTON: Sutton participated in football and volleyball at UTEP from 2005-06 and spent time with the 2007 Miami Dolphins in training camp.
MATLOCK: New to the AFL, Matlock played his final year of college football at Minnesota State-Mankato. By the end of the 2006 season, he had recorded 30 kickoff returns for 1,014 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, Matlock tallied 46.0 tackles.
SANDERS: Prior to joining the Blaze, Sanders played for Eastern Illinois University. In his final two seasons as a Panther, he recorded 47.5 total tackles, 16 pass breakups, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, two touchdowns and three interceptions.