Portland Thunder Set Historic First Roster
On Monday, March 10, 2014, the Portland Thunder of the Arena Gootball League introduced the first roster in the history of the franchise. In a small ceremony at the Thunder offices in the complex owned by Emmert International, the roster was introduced to the media and the players were given a generous “welcome to the team” gift of Thunder branded custom headphones by Sol Republic.
To those who had spent some time around the team, most of the final roster cuts on Sunday came as no surprise. One release though, that of wide receiver Andrae Thurman, who the Portland staff traded future considerations for, did catch some off guard. Thurman seemed to have a solid camp and was certainly a veteran presence after spending last year with the Philadelphia Soul. Coach Matt Sauk and company brought in Samora Goodson, formerly of the San Jose SaberCats, who had spent a year on the sidelines after having refused to report after a trade to the New Orleans VooDoo.
Goodson, who seems to fit a reciever profile the Thunder are interested in, came in at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and will probably make a nice bookend to Douglas McNeill, the third wide out who is about the same size. Thurman was a veteran of five different NFL teams as well as the aforementioned Soul and seemed to be a fiery presence during training camp. He was targeted often and accurately by quarterbacks Darron Thomas and Nathan Enderle.
A pleasant surprise on the 2014 roster is the inclusion of 6-foot-7, 315 pound Brandon Lockhart, formerly of Oregon State University. Lockhart had experienced multiple off-the-field issues until turning his life around. After playing 2013 season with the Benton County Bulldogs and being literally an immovable object on the Bulldogs offensive line, Lockhart walked into the open tryouts and was one of three participants among the 200 on hand to be invited to camp. The coaching staff must have felt Lockhart's strength was so impressive and his desire so great that he was a good fit for this year's squad. Lockhart and defensive lineman Brandon Tett are currenttly on the IR.
The Thunder signed kicker Micheal Braunstein to round out the roster and placed wide out Dontel Watkins and defensive back Brian Smith on recallable reassignment. Now down to the required roster numbers, the Thunder will finish camp in preparation for their March 17th opener against San Jose at 7:00 p.m. PT in Portland's Moda Center.