Late Season Addition Helps Propel Rattlers to AFL Championship
AUGUST 11, 2014, CLEVELAND, OH - With only two weeks until the big game, the Cleveland Gladiators will have their hands full studying how to stop the red hot, defensive end, Leon Mackey.
After spending the 2013-14 season with the Green Bay Blizzards in the IFL, Mackey found himself without a team and without any knowledge of a job to come. The Arizona Rattlers of the AFL brought him in with a little over a month left in the season. In just four games with the Rattlers, Mackey recorded 3.5 sacks and does not show signs of slowing down.
'The month off I had between my time ending with the Blizzard, and the time the Rattlers picked me up was hard for me,' said Mackey. 'I was working two jobs just to get by and also hitting the gym to keep myself ready if the opportunity arose. There is nothing you can do about the outside factors, you can only control yourself and how you keep yourself ready for when the phone rings.'
Mackey never focused on his numbers. Instead, he focused on how he could become a better player and student of the game. Notably, the defensive end attributes his recent success to his journeyman career of football starting back in junior college.
'So far in my career, I have learned something new with each coach about the game. I have treasured each and every opportunity granted to me and I've become a better player from each one. I like to think I have grown more as a student of the game rather than just my success on the field,' said Mackey about his past.
After the championship game, Mackey will have his sights on greater aspirations, potentially the NFL.
'I just want a shot, a chance to show people that I am still learning and worth taking a chance on,' said Mackey on his lifelong goal. 'I don't need a big contract or anything like that. All I want is to take care of my family and earn everything I get.'
The AFL championship game will kick off at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 23 on ESPN.
Interact with Leon Mackey on twitter via the handle @OnceYouGoMackey.
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