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Arena League

Familiar face and position, unfamiliar team

By FRANK PASTOR
Published April 5, 2004

TAMPA - It wasn't the job Omarr Smith signed on for, but the former Storm defensive specialist is earning his keep, nonetheless.

Smith, runnerup for defensive player of the year last season with the Storm, signed with San Jose in the offseason as a wide receiver/defensive back. But a season-ending injury to 2003 defensive player of the year Clevan Thomas forced Smith to return to defensive specialist.

"That wasn't part of my contract; I thought I was going to go in and play two-way," Smith said, joking. "It took some getting used to, but I was in there three or four games, so now it's kind of like I was back in Tampa, back in the middle. Got to hold it down."

Matched against offensive specialist Freddie Solomon throughout San Jose's 62-55 victory on Sunday, Smith more than held his own. He limited Solomon to one touchdown catch while making a team-high seven tackles and intercepting Shane Stafford's desperation pass on the final play to earn defensive player of the game honors.

"It feels great to get a pick against Tampa," Smith said. "It's kind of a funny feeling being in this arena wearing the white and green. I got real attached to this city and the people here, and I really liked it, but I had to leave, and I'm glad I got a pick in the game. It's kind of fitting."

TEMPERS FLARE: Storm wide receiver/defensive back T.T. Toliver and San Jose defensive specialist Wendell Davis briefly wrestled in the end zone after a Tampa Bay incompletion late in the second quarter.

"Our tempers just got the best of us," Toliver said. "He kind of went up on my helmet, and I kind of reacted by going up on his helmet. Then, the next thing you know, we were on the ground."

Toliver got the better of Davis on the Storm's next possession, catching a 30-yard touchdown in front of the San Jose defender. After the play, Toliver spun the ball on the ground in celebration as Davis jawed at him.

WATCH IT: San Jose was warned about running pick plays off the umpire after Barry Wagner's 11-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.

WAKEUP CALL: The noon start amounted to an 8 a.m. kickoff for San Jose after factoring in the three-hour time difference and daylight savings time.

AWARD-WORTHY: San Jose wide receiver/linebacker James Roe was named offensive player of the game after catching a franchise-record seven touchdowns. Toliver, who had three touchdown catches and a forced fumble, was named Ironman.

STORM FLURRIES: The Storm placed fullback/linebacker Basil Proctor (neck) on injured reserve and activated fullback/linebacker Andre Bowden and offensive/defensive lineman Emil Ekiyor. ... Linemen Shawn King (hamstring) and Evan Pilgrim were inactive.

[Last modified April 5, 2004, 01:20:27]


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