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Loots More than He Appears

Mick Cornett
Thursday July 26, 2001

It is easy to discard Oklahoma Wrangler quarterback Jeff Loots by labeling him as an underachieving Arena Football League journeyman. After all, he’s played for five different AFL teams and no coach has let him start more than a handful of games.

The coaches seem to take a look, see what he can do, then replace him with someone else. It’s happened time after time. But Loots ended the 2001 season with two very impressive outings. So once again, the annual question is asked, “Should Jeff Loots be a starter in this league?”

Maybe the question has already been answered. At the beginning of the season, the expansion Chicago Rush signed Loots and made him their number-one quarterback. After a rough start, an injury, and a few conflicts with head coach Mike Hohensee, Loots was benched and eventually traded to Oklahoma where he had played last year. After re-learning the Wrangler offense, Loots started the last three games. He struggled in the first outing but played like a superstar in the last two games.

On the road at Grand Rapids, Loots threw eight touchdown passes and no interceptions in a 72-70 defeat. Granted the Rampage don’t have a very good secondary, but with 11 wins and only three losses, they have the best record in the league.

In the season finale, Loots threw seven touchdown passes in a 60-42 win over Los Angeles. He suffered only one interception and that was on a ball batted up in the air at the line of scrimmage. Counting his games with Chicago, Loots ended the season with 31 touchdown passes and only five interceptions.

With Ron Lopez no longer in the picture, Wrangler coach Bob Cortese is expected to throw some big money at some big name free-agent quarterbacks. Still, Loots remains an intriguing, and certainly a more cost efficient, option.

Mick Cornett was a writer for ArenaFan Online from 2000 to 2001.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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