Rampage QB Happy to be in Grand Rapids
McPherson was the Arena Football League Rookie of the Year in 2004 while playing for the Indiana Firebirds. He threw 61 touchdown passes that season and rushed for 19 more.
The Firebirds folded after McPherson’s first season in the League and he was picked up by the Nashville Kats in a dispersal draft. He never played for the Kats, however. Instead, he entered the NFL Draft in 2005 and was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the fifth round.
In 2006, McPherson was injured during halftime of a preseason game between the Saints and the Tennessee Titans when the Titans mascot, T-Rac, accidentally struck him while driving off the field in a golf cart. McPherson was waiting to catch a punt during warm ups and did not see the cart coming.
He returned to the Arena Football League last year as quarterback of the Austin Wranglers. He started eight games and soon after, he was released. He was then picked up by the Rampage and started the final three games for Grand Rapids last season after an injury to starter Chad Salisbury.
The Rampage hired new head coach Steve Thonn away from the Georgia Force during the off-season and McPherson is one of the few Rampage players remaining on the roster from last year’s squad.
McPherson reflected on his past and present Arena training camp experiences after a recent scrimmage with the Cleveland Gladiators. “In Indiana, I was just lost. As a young kid I really didn’t know the game, so it was just a little different for me. In Austin, I thought the training camp went well, but it didn’t cater to some of my abilities. I thought we had great players, but I really didn’t fit that system.
“But with Steve (Thonn), he’s not only a great play caller, he’s really good at listening to the players and working to the best of our abilities. He’s using the great system that he has and he’s molding it to the players that he has. Steve went out and cleaned house (in Grand Rapids). He went out and got every player he wanted. He knew what kind of players would fit in his system and I’m excited about that.
“I’m a strong believer in everything happening for a reason. I couldn’t understand why I was released by Austin and came here last year, but I’m as happy as a little kid right now. It’s a small market and the fans are excited about football. I’m looking for some great things this year.”
If McPherson can return to the form that made him the League’s Rookie of the Year in 2004, the fans in Grand Rapids will have much to cheer about in 2008.
Randy Snow covered the Grand Rapids Rampage of the Arena Football League for ArenaFan from 2003-2008. He also covered the Fort Wayne Fusion of arenafootball2 in 2007. From 2004-2008 and in 2010, he was a member of the Arena Football League Writer’s Association and, since 2011, has been a member of the Professional Football Researchers Association. Randy lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan but will travel just about anywhere for a football game or a great football story. He runs the web site www.theworldoffootball.com and hosts a podcast with his son, Adam, called “This Week in The World of Football.”