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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Clash leads Storm, key player to part
Demetris Bendross says team "fired" him after dust-up with coach Tim Marcum. QB Shane Stafford's X-rays show no injuries.
By FRANK PASTOR
Published March 14, 2006
TAMPA - On a day it received good news about its starting quarterback, the Storm appears to have cut ties with one of its top receivers.
Though no move has been made, offensive specialist Demetris Bendross, Tampa Bay's most productive receiver and kick returner the past few weeks, said he was "fired" on Monday.
Earlier in the day, the team learned that X-rays on quarterback Shane Stafford's ribs were negative. He was injured during a 64-35 loss to Dallas on Sunday.
Bendross, who had eight receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns, including a league-record 49-yarder, and returned seven kicks for 122 yards, cleaned out his locker after meeting with coach Tim Marcum.
"He told me that I don't respect him, that he was going to let me go so I could play for a coach that I respect," Bendross said. "I found that funny, because out of all people, I'm the one that doesn't respect him, when I've been cordial since Day 1 that I met him? But because you have one time that I had an attitude, it's a big thing?"
Marcum was upset about a comment Bendross made in the locker room after clock mismanagement cost the Storm a scoring chance at the end of the first half, Bendross said. On Dallas' 17, Tampa Bay ran twice for 4 yards before Stafford threw incomplete as time expired.
Marcum admitted later he didn't realize he had a timeout remaining.
"I said, "I don't understand why the hell we would run the ball when you've got 20 seconds left on the clock and we've been winning games by putting the ball in the air,"' Bendross said. "Shane set a record throwing for 400 yards back-to-back games because we were throwing the ball, not running the damn ball. We haven't gotten positive yards, a whole 5 yards, with a running back all year except for a quarterback draw, so everybody questioned that."
Marcum declined comment until a move is made.
Offensive specialist Freddie Solomon, out the past four games with a foot injury, is expected to start against New York on Saturday.
Bendross caught 42 passes for 697 yards and 11 touchdowns in seven games over two seasons. His 182 receiving yards in a 58-48 win over Austin on Feb. 25 were fifth-most in team history.
A Lakeland resident, he is under contract with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. He hasn't ruled out a return to Arena football.
"I had a great time, I really did," said Bendross, 29. "I got a chance to play the Arena game. I was really not positive about it before I came because of those damn walls, but once I got to playing, it turned out to be fun."