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AFL Press Release

Ross, Bell and Stephens Earn Weekly Honors

Tuesday March 18, 2014

 Solomon, Ikner also awarded for weekend’s highlights

CHICAGOPhiladelphia Soul FB DERRICK ROSS has been awarded Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week, while LA KISS MLB BEAU BELL has been named the Riddell Defensive Player of the Week and San Antonio Talons WR D.J. STEPHENS has been named J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week for Week 1 of the 2014 NET10 Wireless Arena Football League season. In addition to these awards, the AFL is also awarding the Cutters Catch of the Week and AFL Highlight of the Week. Portland Thunder WR JEFFREY SOLOMON earned the Cutters Catch of the Week, while Orlando Predators DB ARNESS IKNER was awarded the AFL Highlight of the Week.

Ross (6-0, 250, Tarleton State) tied a single-game AFL record with six rushing touchdowns in Philadelphia’s 55-62 overtime loss to the Arizona Rattlers in Week 1. His sixth score came with 23 seconds to play in the fourth quarter and tied Dan Alexander’s single-game League mark, originally set in 2007. The AFL’s all-time leading rusher, Ross ran the ball 12 times for 46 yards in the game.

Bell (6-2, 240, UNLV) collected 4.5 tackles, three sacks, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup in LA’s 41-38 victory over the San Antonio Talons in Week 1. His three sacks represent a new single-game franchise record and brings his career sack total to 20.

Stephens (5-11, 180, Arkansas-Monticello) set a single-game franchise record with 14 receptions in San Antonio’s 38-41 loss to the LA KISS in Week 1. He led the team with 140 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the game. Stephens also returned two kicks for 53 yards, finishing the game with 193 all-purpose yards. He will be awarded a timepiece crafted by J. Lewis Small for his efforts.

Solomon (6-0, 200, Washington State) made a diving 32-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter of Portland’s 34-64 loss to the San Jose SaberCats on Monday. The score, which landed at No. 7 on ESPNSportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays, was the first passing score in Thunder franchise history. Solomon will receive a Cutters hat and shirt in recognition of the catch.

Ikner (5-8, 180, Middle Tennessee State) returned a kickoff 55 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Orlando’s 49-47 victory over the Jacksonville Sharks in Week 1. The return changed the complexion of the game for the Predators, who were able to knock off the South Division rival Sharks for the first time since 2010.

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week candidates included: Arizona’s Tysson Poots, Cleveland’s Chris Dieker, Orlando’s Jason Boltus, San Antonio’s D.J. Stephens, San Jose’s Reggie Gray, Spokane’s Erik Meyer and Tampa Bay’s Justin Hilton.

Riddell Defensive Player of the Week candidates included: Arizona’s Jeremy Kellem, Orlando’s Mark Robinson, New Orleans’ Eddie Moten, Pittsburgh’s Virgil Gray, San Jose’s David Hyland and Spokane’s Paul Stephens.

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week candidates included: Arizona’s Marquis Floyd, Orlando’s Braylon Bell, Pittsburgh’s Virgil Gray, Portland’s Duane Brooks, Spokane’s Terrance Sanders and Tampa Bay’s Michael Lindsey.

The Arena Football League is also awarding the MVP of the Week, where fans are given the opportunity to select the winner. Candidates include Cleveland Gladiators QB CHRIS DIEKER, Orlando PredatorsQB JASON BOLTUS and Spokane Shock QB ERIK MEYER. Fans will have 24 hours to vote on beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 19. The winner will be announced on Thursday, March 20.

About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network will nationally broadcast AFL games each week for the entire 2014 season. The AFL schedule culminates with ArenaBowl XXVII Saturday, August 23, 2014 on ESPN.