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SaberCats Activate DL Joe Sykes, Assigned DL Ernest Owusu

Wednesday June 4, 2014

 SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose SaberCats announced today that they have activated defensive lineman Joe Sykes from the refuse to report list. In addition, the team has been assigned rookie defensive lineman Ernest Owusu and placed defensive lineman Luis Vasquez on injured reserve.

“As an elite pass rusher, we are excited for what Joe can bring to this team,” said Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet. “And Owusu, he is a young guy who we feel has a lot of potential to be a force in this league.”

In his two full seasons of Arena Football, Sykes has earned Riddell Defensive Player of the Year, twice earned Game Tape Exchange Defensive Lineman of the Year, and has twice been named First Team All-Arena.

Sykes (6-5, 280, Southern), who played for the SaberCats during 2012, spent all of 2013 with the San Antonio Talons. Playing in all 18 games last season, Sykes posted 34.5 tackles, along with 14.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. Those 14.5 sacks allowed Sykes to lead the league that category for the second consecutive season.

In 2012, Sykes put up one of the greatest defensive seasons in Arena Football League History en route to earning the Riddell Defensive Player of the Year award. Appearing in 17 games for the SaberCats, Sykes put up an AFL record 16.0 total sacks to go along with 33 tackles and 18 tackles for loss. He also forced five fumbles, notched an interception and recovered two more fumbles.

As a rookie in 2010, Sykes appeared in the final three games of the regular season for the Milwaukee Iron, where he posted six tackles and recovered a fumble for a touchdown.

Also in 2010, Sykes attended pre-season camp with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. In 2009, he appeared in five games for the Saskatchewan Roughriders during their Championship campaign, making one tackle. In 2008, Sykes played for the Green Bay Blizzard of af2 where he was named the ADT Defensive Player of the Year and the Russell Athletic Lineman of the Year. He finished the year with a league leading 22 tackles for a loss and 19.5 quarterback sacks, while picking up 49 total tackles, eight forced fumbles, and five fumble recoveries. In 2006, Sykes signed a three year contract on 5/9 with the Washington Redskins and spent the entire 2006 season with the team. He saw action in one regular season game and remained on the team’s active roster through the preseason of 2007.

Sykes attended Southern University and A&M College in 2005 where he led the team in tackles (53), sacks (nine-and-a-half) and tackles for loss (12).

Owusu (6-4, 270, California) is a rookie to the Arena Football League. As an undrafted free agent in 2012, he has spent time with the Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League.

Owusu played in 42 games with 18 starts over his four year career at the University of California. For his college career, he recorded 55.0 tackles with 14.0 tackles for loss, eight sacks and five pass break ups. As a senior, Owusu earned first-team Pac-12 All-Academic honors after being named second-team Pac-10 All-Academic as a sophomore and junior. Also as a junior and senior, he was named first-team ESPN All-District 8.

The SaberCats are back in action this Saturday, June 7th at 7:30 pm at the SAP Center as the Los Angeles KISS make their first ever trip to San Jose. The game can be found locally on the radio at KNBR 1050 with Bob Fitzgerald and Ben Nelson, and streamed live on ESPN3.

The ArenaBowl XVI, XVIII and XXI champion San Jose SaberCats enter their 18th season in the AFL after making their return in 2011. They open up their 2014 schedule on the road against a new AFL franchise, the Portland Thunder on March 17. Fans and sponsors can go to or call 408-673-3400 to sign up to receive the latest news and updates about the SaberCats, as well as to purchase 2014 season tickets. Make sure to follow the SaberCats on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news on the team.